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.

illustration of an alarm clock split to show 2 options; 3 hours or 12 hours.

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.

12 hour

Take these pills within the same 12 hour period each day. The active ingredient is desogestrel.

Cerelle packet

Cerelle

From £19.00

Cerazette packet

Cerazette

From £26.00

Zelleta pill packet

Zeletta

From £21.00

Feanolla packet

Feanolla

From £20.00

3 hour

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. 

Norgeston packet

Norgeston

From £18.00

Noriday packet

Noriday

From £19.00

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 POP?

There are two types of POP:

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 POP?

You may not be able to take POP if you have or have had:

  • heart disease or a stroke

  • disease of the liver

  • systemic lupus erythematosus

  • breast cancer.

Can I take POP if I’m approaching menopause?

If you are healthy and there are no medical reasons for you not to take the POP, you can take it until your menopause or until you are 55 years old.

Can you get cysts from POP?

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 POP affect my future fertility?

When you stop using the POP your fertility will return to normal. (Don’t worry if your periods don’t start immediately. For some women it can take a few months).

Can I use POP after having a baby?

Yes, you can use the POP after having a baby.

Can I use POP whilst breastfeeding?

Yes, you can use the POP 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?

Yes. You will receive a text with a tracking link once it has been dispatched.

Can I request a record of my previous contraception orders from Fettle?

Yes, once you have ordered contraception from Fettle, you can email info@fettle.health.

How quickly will my order arrive?

We’ll send your order by Tracked 1st Class Royal Mail. Delivery is included in the price. Contraception is sent on the 48hr service, and emergency contraception on the 24hr service.

If you order emergency contraception, and we are unable to deliver it in time for it to be effective, we will let you know during the order process and help you find your nearest sexual health clinic or pharmacy.

Written by Sarah Higgins. Nurse Prescriber
Reviewed by Dr Paula Baraitser. Medical Director

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