• Ethinylestradiol/Norgestimate

Cilest is a combined oral contraceptive pill, which contains two synthetic hormones. It is a popular and effective choice for many UK women.

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Each pill contains 250mcg norgestimate and 35mcg ethinylestradiol. They are taken for the first 21 days of the user's 4-weekly menstrual cycle.

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Cilest is a form of contraceptive medication. It is a combined pill, which means that it contains two synthetic hormones which work to prevent pregnancy. The product is marketed by Janssen and is one of the most popular medicines of its kind. One pack will contain either three or six strips of 21 tablets; a strip comprising a month’s supply.

  1. Manufactured by Janssen
  2. Widely-used contraceptive 
  3. 99% effective when used correctly

To understand how Cilest works, it is first important to understand how pregnancy begins. Ovulation is the process whereby the ovary in a woman’s body produces and releases an egg, ready to be fertilised by a man’s sperm. Conception occurs when a sperm reaches and impregnates one of these eggs. Once this fertilisation has taken place, the egg travels along the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where it attaches to the uterine wall (endometrium). This phase is called implantation. The egg then develops into an embryo and starts to grow.

The release of an egg is regulated by a hormone called progesterone, while the conditions of the uterine wall are managed by the hormone oestrogen. When fertilisation does not take place, the egg simply breaks up once it reaches the uterus, and the lining of the endometrium is shed. This results in a period (menstrual bleeding).

The functioning agents in Cilest are synthetic hormones, called ethinylestradiol and norgestimate. They mimic the function of oestrogen and progesterone respectively. When used in contraception, their presence makes the body think that ovulation has already occurred, which then stops the ovary from releasing an egg. They also alter conditions along the uterine wall, which makes it harder for a fertilised egg to implant there. Furthermore, they work to increase the density of vaginal fluid, and this makes it more difficult for sperm to move around inside the womb.

The combined pill is a choice many women opt for, because it is easy to administer (a one-a-day tablet) and has a high success rate when properly applied. When choosing your treatment however, it is important to ensure you get the one which works best for you and your body. You can find out if Cilest is suitable for you by taking our medical questionnaire.

We understand that not everyone has time to visit their doctor in person, which is why we offer a simple remote consultation service. At, our doctors will review your order after you have submitted it to them, and issue a prescription for your treatment if it is suitable. Following confirmation, our dispensing pharmacy will then package your medicine and send it to you. All orders are delivered by next-day tracked courier, so you don’t have to worry about your item getting lost, or taking days to arrive.

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How to use Cilest

While no contraceptive pill is 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy, taking your product as directed by your prescriber will help to ensure it functions properly. Always read the patient information leaflet fully prior to first use.

  1. Take one Cilest pill a day for 21 consecutive days.
  2. Ensure you take it at the same time each day.
  3. Designated days will be marked on the blister pack. Use these as a guide.
  4. Swallow tablets whole with water.
  5. For the following 7 days, do not take Cilest.
  6. After this, begin the course again from the start.
  7. Ensure you are not pregnant before taking Cilest.
  8. If you miss a pill, refer to the instructions provided in the leaflet.

These directions are only intended as a guide. More detailed information can be found in the leaflet provided. Ask your doctor if you are still unsure.

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Cilest side effects

Not everyone will experience side effects when using this medicine. However, it is important to be aware of the side effects Cilest may cause, so that you can seek medical attention if you notice anything unusual or become concerned.

Very common (1 in 10 people or more):
Headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, painful or irregular periods.

Common (1 in 10 people or less):
Swelling of the hands, ankles or feet, migraine, depression, mood changes, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, acne, skin rash, breast pain, urinary tract infections, thrush, vaginal discharge, weight gain, feelings of weakness, or muscle pain.

Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):
Dry eyes, sight problems, loss of libido, fluctuations in weight, hair loss, anxiety, numbness, itchiness, palpitations, flushing, vaginal dryness or ovarian cysts.

Rare (1 in 1000 people or less):
Increased heart rate, giddiness, pancreatitis, increased perspiration, hypersensitivity.

This is a not a complete list of the side effects associated with this product. More detailed information can be found in the leaflet supplied with the medicine. If you experience any side effects, speak to your nearest doctor or healthcare professional immediately.

Taking it with other medicines

Always tell your doctor about any other medicines you are using during consultation for Cilest, as they may reduce its effectiveness, or vice versa. These may include: medicines used to treat epilepsy, bosentan, antibiotics, HIV medicines, aprepitant and fosaprepitant, griseofulvin, modafinil, barbiturates, St. John’s Wort, metoclopramide, charcoal, colesevelam, etoricoxib, ciclosporin, lamotrigine, prednisolone, selegiline, theophylline or tizanidine.

Conditions to look out for

Make sure your prescriber knows about any conditions you have before taking this medicine. Cilest may not be suitable for those who are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke, or having blood clots. See the leaflet provided for more information.

You should not use this pill if you are breastfeeding and your baby is less than 6 weeks old, or if you have or have had: breast or liver cancer; an irregular heartbeat; heart problems; circulation problems; high blood pressure; migraines; diabetes; a severe liver disease; or lupus.

Q&A: our Cilest discussion forum

Can I still drink alcohol?

Yes. It is safe to drink while using Cilest.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes. But if you experience any side effects which may make driving unsafe, do not drive and seek medical advice.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

No. You will be required to undergo a pregnancy test prior to using Cilest to ensure you are not pregnant.

It may also not be suitable for women who are breastfeeding. Inform our doctor during completion of the questionnaire in these cases, so that they can advise you appropriately.

How should I store it?

Keep it in its original packaging, in a safe environment below 25°C.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

Cilest contains norgestimate, ethinylestradiol, lactose, magnesium stearate, pregelatinised starch, and a type of dye, FD&C blue No 2 (E132).

Do not use it if you are allergic to any of the above constituents.

Is it available over-the-counter?

No. You can only buy Cilest in the UK with a prescription from a qualified doctor.

Is it right for me?

We’re here to help you find out. Discover if Cilest is the right contraceptive pill for you by taking our online questionnaire. A qualified doctor will assess your case and only issue a prescription if they think the treatment is safe for you. When your order is approved, it will be passed directly on to our dispensing pharmacy. They will then ship your order by secure next-day courier.

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We promise to keep your details secure and private. We will never sell your information or share it with third parties. Whatever treatment you buy online from us, we will send in plain, unmarked packaging via our secure courier service.

Delivery on all items is included in the price. After your order has been dispatched, you’ll be supplied with a tracking number, allowing you to follow the progress of your items every step of the way. We deliver to anywhere in the UK, so whether you’re in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow or Cardiff, your order will be at your door within just 24 hours of approval from our doctor.

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