Progestogen only pill
The progestogen only pill, also known as the mini pill, is a small daily tablet. It’s suitable for most people who can’t take oestrogen or the combined pill.
Order 3, 6 or 12 month supply
We will text you when you’re due to run out.
Choosing your progestogen only pill
Try different formulations
There are several versions of the progestogen only pill. They contain slightly different amounts of the same hormone. We’ve grouped these by when you need to take them: within the same 12 hour or 3 hour period every day.
Choose a pill that suits your schedule
Some people find it difficult to remember to take their pill at the same time every day. With a 12 hour pill, you only need to take your pill within the same 12 hour period every day. Start with one of these to see how it fits into your schedule.
Try the brand that fits your budget
You might need to try a few brands before you find one that suits you. You could start with the brand that’s most affordable. Keep a record of how you feel and any side effects, like how it affects your period. If you don’t like it after a few months, try a different brand.
Take these pills within the same 12 hour period each day. The active ingredient is desogestrel.
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If a 12 hour pill did not work well for you, you could try one of these. You’ll need to take it within the same 3 hour period every day.
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About the progestogen only pill
How to take the progestogen only pill
Take one pill every day. There are 28 pills in a pack. You do not need to take a break between packs.
How progestogen only pills work
The hormone in the progestogen only pill thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it’s harder for sperm to reach an egg. It also thins the womb lining, making it harder for a fertilised egg to implant.
In some women, these pills stop the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation).
If used consistently and correctly, progestogen only pills are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Side effects of the progestogen only pill
Some women experience side effects like spotty skin, breast tenderness, nausea, headaches or changes in mood or sex drive. These side effects should settle over time. There's no research that shows a connection between taking these pills and weight changes, but some people do report they gain weight on this contraceptive.
If you find that the side effects do not settle, try a different brand of pill. You might find that a different formulation suits you better. It can take time to find the right product for you.
Health risks and benefits
There are no serious health risks from the progestogen only pill. It's very safe.
It rarely increases your risk of blood clots. So if you’re over 35 and smoke or you cannot use a combined contraceptive method, this should be suitable.
It’s not suitable if you have breast cancer or severe liver disease.
This pill can help with heavy, painful periods - about half of all people who take it get no or infrequent bleeding. But it can also cause longer or more frequent periods.
Who the progestogen only pill is suitable for
Most women can take this type of contraceptive pill. We’ll ask about your family and medical history when you order. This helps us work out if it's the best method for you.
The progestogen only pill is useful for women who cannot take oestrogen. Or those who smoke and are 35 or over. It's not always suitable for women who might be pregnant, are taking certain medicines or who have or have had certain health conditions. You need to remember to take a pill every day.
If you miss a pill
If you miss a pill for any reason, you need to know if you’re taking a 12 hour or 3 hour version of the progestogen only pill. This is really important as the missed pill rules are different depending on what kind of pill you are taking.
Check the pill packet or patient information leaflet and see if your pill contains desogestrel.
If it has desogestrel in, it's a 12 hour pill. If it does not have desogestrel in, it's a 3 hour pill. Read through our help post to find out what to do with these types of pill.
If you’re not sure what to do, keep taking your pill and use another form of contraception, for example, condoms. Get advice from our clinicians by replying to one of our texts.
Periods on the progestogen only pill
Progestogen only pills can stop ovulation and affect your usual menstrual cycle. Your periods might stop altogether. It can also make your periods lighter or more irregular. This is normal but can be worrying when you first start taking the pill. You might find taking a few pregnancy tests will reassure you that it's working. Text our clinicians at any time if you’re worried. We’re here to help.
What is the difference between the various brands of progestogen only pill?
There are two types of the progestogen only pill:
3 hour : Progestogen only pill that must be taken within three hours of the same time every day. Common brands include: Norgeston and Noriday.
12 hour : Progestogen only pill that must be taken within 12 hours of the same time every day. Common brands include: Cerazette, Cerelle, Zelleta, and Feanolla.
What if I vomit or have diarrhoea whilst taking the pill?
If you vomit within two hours of taking the combined pill, it may not have been fully absorbed into your bloodstream. Take another pill straight away and the next pill at your usual time.
Very severe diarrhoea (six to eight watery stools in 24 hours) may also mean that the pill doesn't work properly. Keep taking your pill as normal, but use additional contraception, such as condoms, while you have diarrhoea and for 7 days after recovering.
I’ve had a serious health condition. Can I take the progestogen only pill?
You may not be able to take a progestogen only pill if you have or have had:
heart disease or a stroke
disease of the liver
systemic lupus erythematosus
Can I take a progestogen only pill if I’m approaching menopause?
If you are healthy and there are no medical reasons for you not to take the progestogen only pill. You can take it until your menopause or until you are 55 years old.
Can you get cysts from taking the progestogen only pill?
Some women may develop small fluid-filled cysts on their ovaries. These are not dangerous and do not usually need to be removed.
I am on the 3 hour window pill, can I change to the 12 hour window one?
Yes, you can easily change between pills.
Can medicines affect how the pill works?
Some medicines make the progestogen only pill less effective (including those used to treat epilepsy, HIV and TB, and the herbal medicine St John’s Wort).
Will the progestogen only pill affect my future fertility?
When you stop using the pill your fertility will return to normal. Don’t worry if your periods don’t start immediately. For some people, it can take a few months.
Can I use the progestogen only pill after having a baby?
Yes, you can use the progestogen only pill after having a baby.
Can I use the progestogen only pill whilst breastfeeding?
Yes, you can use the progestogen only pill while breastfeeding.
Can I reorder my contraception easily?
We will send a reminder by text two weeks before your supply is due to run out. You can reorder using the same online order form and your new supply will be dispatched to arrive the next working day. You should always make sure that you have a new supply ready to avoid missing any pills.
Can I track my order?
If you have ordered contraception or treatment from us, you’ll be sent a text with a tracking link for your delivery.
If you have ordered an STI test kit, this is not tracked. It is sent by Royal Mail 1st Class.
Can I request a record of my previous contraception orders from Fettle?
Yes, once you have ordered contraception from Fettle, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How quickly will my order arrive?
Test kits and prescription medicines are sent via Royal Mail 1st Class post. They should arrive within 2-3 business days. We'll send you a text message to confirm that your order has been dispatched.
If your kit has not arrived 3 business days after you’ve received this text, contact us at email@example.com. Do not reorder - we cannot accept a new order while another is in process.
When you order emergency contraception, we'll let you know if we cannot deliver it in time for it to be effective and we'll help you find your nearest sexual health clinic or pharmacy.
Not what you were looking for?
Don't think the progestogen only pill is for you? Compare the other contraceptives that we offer.