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Contraceptive pill brand guide

Contraceptive pill brand guide

Choosing a birth control pill from the range available can be difficult. Each pill has slightly different quantities of hormones. These can cause some people to experience side effects, while others will see no change. You may need to try a few types or brands to find the one that suits your body and lifestyle.

There are two main types of contraceptive pill, the combined pill and progesterone-only pill (POP)

Combined pill

Contains synthetic forms of progesterone and oestrogen. All brands of the combined pill (e.g. Ovreena and Yasmin) should be taken orally at the same time every day, usually for three weeks followed by a seven-day break when your period is due. We recommend following the instructions provided by your clinician to make sure the pill works correctly. 

Progestogen-only pill 

Also known as the mini pill or POP, all progestogen-only pill brands (for example Cerazette or Noriday) are taken daily without a break. They may be used by women who are not medically suitable for combined contraception. 

To help you make the right choice, we have compiled a brief guide to the main brands and how they differ. All of them are available through our online service, meaning that you don’t have to book a doctor’s appointment to get a prescription.

For further advice on choosing the best contraceptive pill for you, visit our online contraception clinic. If you’re already registered with us and want to change your pill, send us a message via your Patient Record. Your GP and local sexual health clinic can also help guide you.

Ovranette

Ovranette is a combined pill, one of a selection of combined pills available in contraception in Ireland. 

Advantages 

  • Very effective at preventing pregnancies
  • Can ease heavy or painful periods
  • Reduces premenstrual syndrome
  • Disadvantages

    • Can cause nausea, headaches and breast tenderness
    • Slightly raised risk of blood clots and breast cancer
    • Not suitable for women who smoke and are over 35 or those who are overweight

    Active Ingredients

    • Ethinylestradiol
    • Levonorgestrel

    Request Ovranette

    Cilique

    A combined pill. It is very similar to Ovranette, but produces a slightly higher quantity of synthetic oestrogen. 

    Advantages

    • Very effective at preventing pregnancy
    • Can ease heavy or painful periods
    • Reduces premenstrual syndrome
    • Less chance of breakthrough bleeding than Ovranette

    Disadvantages

    • Can cause nausea, headaches and breast tenderness
    • Slightly raised risk of blood clots and breast cancer
    • Not suitable for women prone to blood clots
    • Not suitable for women who smoke and are over 35 or those who are overweight

    Active Ingredients

    • Ethinylestradiol
    • Norgestimate

    Request Cilique

    Yasmin

    Another popular combined pill brand, it’s also often prescribed for women who suffer from painful, heavy or irregular periods. 

    Advantages

    • Good for women with no health issues
    • Regular periods
    • Helps with heavy or painful periods
    • Reduces premenstrual syndrome

    Disadvantages

    • Can cause nausea, headaches and breast tenderness
    • Slightly raised risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs than other combined pills

    Active Ingredients

    • Ethinylestradiol 
    • Drospirenone

    Request Yasmin

    Cerazette

    Unlike other progesterone-only pills, which have to be taken within a 3-hour window, Cerazette can be taken during a 12-hour window. 

    Advantages

    • Good for breastfeeding women
    • Suitable for smokers, women who are overweight and those who experience severe migraines
    • 12-hour window to take
    • Safer for women with high blood pressure

    Disadvantages

    • Potential for irregular bleeding
    • Not suitable for women who have or have had breast cancer
    • Not suitable for women with liver disease

    Active Ingredients

    • Desogestrel

    Request Cerazette

    Dianette 

    Dianette is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, very oily skin and excessive hair growth in women of reproductive age. However, it also functions as an effective contraceptive pill if taken correctly. If you have been prescribed Dianette for acne, you must not take any other hormonal contraceptive at the same time. 

    Yasmin can also help with acne and does not carry the risks associated with Dianette. 

    Advantages

    • 99% effective if taken correctly
    • Also effective against acne and excessive hair growth

    Disadvantages

    • Not suitable if pregnant or breastfeeding 
    • Not suitable for those with a history of blood clots, stroke or breast cancer
    • A range of side effects including nausea, headaches, mood swings and changes in sex drive

    Active Ingredients

    • Ethinylestradiol 
    • Cyproterone

    Request Dianette

    Authors and editors

    Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 22-09-2023