Indications and Adverse Reactions for Desogestrel

Desogestrel is the therapeutic option for is contraception and women trying to avoid pregnancy should take it daily and without interruption.
Indications and Adverse Reactions for Desogestrel

Last update: 04 January, 2020

Desogestrel is a progestogen used for contraceptive purposes. Progesterone is the natural progestogen hormone, commonly secreted by the corpus luteum in the second phase of the menstrual cycle and by the placenta during pregnancy. In addition, the testicles and adrenal cortex also secrete small amounts of progesterone. But what are the indications and adverse reactions for Desogestrel? Stick around as we’ll tell you all about it below.

Desogestrel indications

Desogestrel is the therapeutic option for contraception. There are two main types of oral contraceptives:

  • Combinations of estrogen with a progestogen: the combined pill.
  • Progestin hormonal contraception only: a pill with progestogen.

Currently, most oral contraceptive formulations use the isolated progestogen or desogestrel at a dose of 75 micrograms.

A woman taking Desogestrel should do so daily and without interruption. She should take the tablets every day at approximately the same time so that the interval between the two tablets is always 24 hours.

Similarly, she should take the first tablet on the first day of her menstruation. She should then take one tablet daily continuously, regardless of bleeding. She’ll need to start a new pack the day after she finishes the previous one.

A double picture of pills and a female reproductive organ.

How it works

This drug works primarily on the cervical mucus, which then becomes inhospitable for sperm. However, it doesn’t always prevent an ovum from maturing, which is the main action of combined pills.

You might be interested in reading: Seven Questions about the Female Condom

Also, women who don’t tolerate estrogen and women who are breastfeeding can use Desogestrel, unlike the combined pill.

Possible side effects of Desogestrel

Like all medication, Desogestrel has some side effects:

  • Firstly, irregular vaginal bleeding is one of the most frequent adverse effects that can occur. It may be a slight spotting that doesn’t even require the use of a menstrual pad. However, the bleeding can be intense and resemble menstruation and require the use of a sanitary pad.
  • In many cases, bleeding may never appear. However, irregular bleeding isn’t a sign that the contraceptive protection of Desogestrel is decreasing. Consult your doctor if the bleeding is severe or prolonged.

In addition, frequent adverse effects due to Desogestrel (affecting 1 in 10 women) are as follows:

  • Mood swings or depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Headache
  • Sickness
  • Acne
  • Breast pain
  • Irregular or absence of menstruation
  • Weight gain
A woman holding some pills.

The uncommon side effects are those that affect less than 1 in 100 women:

  • Vaginal infections
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual pain
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Fatigue

Some women report rare cases of skin problems and these affect less than 1 in 1000 women:

  • Sores on the skin
  • Urticaria
  • Erythema on the skin

In addition to these adverse effects, there may be breast secretion and women have also described some cases of ectopic pregnancy — that is, a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterine cavity.

Adverse reactions to Desogestrel

There are some adverse reactions to Desogestrel, and you should always follow your gynecologist’s instructions and keep in mind that you shouldn’t take Desogestrel if:

  • You have or had an active venous thromboembolic disorder
  • If there’s a history of serious liver disorders
  • If there’s undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
  • And, finally, if you’re hypersensitive to the active substance of Desogestrel or to any of its excipients.
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  • Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower RJ, Henderson G. Fármacos que actúan sobre sistemas orgánicos principales. Farmacología 7ª edición. 2007; 421-426.
  • Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios (AEMPS). CIMA. Ficha técnica de Cerazet 75 mcg.
  • Fisterra salud. La píldora anticonceptiva combinada.