Mercilon is a contraceptive pill licensed by Merck Sharp and Dohme. It contains the same ingredients as Marvelon, only in a slightly reduced dose.
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Each pill contains 150 micrograms of desogestrel and 20 micrograms of ethinylestradiol. The pills are taken once daily for 21 days per month, followed by a seven day rest period.
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Mercilon is a combined hormonal birth control pill, marketed by Merck Sharp and Dohme. It contains the same functioning ingredients as Marvelon, but at a reduced dose; making it suitable for those who are more sensitive to adverse effects. It is a one a day tablet taken for 21 days continuously. Following this, the user will have seven pill-free days, before commencing another monthly cycle.
- Branded combined pill
- 99% chance of preventing pregnancy
- Lower dose, lower risk of side effects
Before explaining how Mercilon works to provide contraception, it is important to know how the body prepares for pregnancy. Every month, the female reproductive system goes through a series of phases. Ovulation is one of them, and involves the production of an egg. This egg, once released by the ovary, is ready to be fertilised by sperm. Once the sperm has penetrated this egg, it travels to the uterus, where it attaches to the uterine wall and grows into an embryo. This process is referred to as conception.
If the egg does not become fertilised, then it deconstructs when it reaches the uterus, and is released, along with the lining of the uterine wall (or endometrium), through menstrual discharge.
The synthetic hormones in Mercilon are ethinylestradiol and desogestrel, and in the body, these perform in a similar way to oestrogen and progesterone, respectively. Progesterone regulates ovulation, while oestrogen manages the shedding of the uterine wall.
When this pill is taken, the presence of these artificial hormones persuades the body that ovulation has already happened. This stems the release of an egg, and prevents the uterine wall from developing a receptive lining. The agents also thicken the consistency of vaginal fluid, and this stops sperm from being able to move around inside the womb.
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How to use Mercilon
For your pill to be effective, it is vital to ensure you take it correctly. No contraceptive medicine is guaranteed to prevent pregnancy, but following the instructions provided in the patient information leaflet will greatly reduce the risk of its failure. If you are unsure, ask your prescriber for advice.
- One pack contains 3 strips. Each strip lasts for one monthly cycle.
- A monthly cycle is 28 days.
- Take one pill a day for the first 21 days, at the same time each day.
- Then take seven days off.
- Repeat this process the following month.
- Swallow tablets whole with water. Do not chew or break them up.
- Follow the arrow guide provided on the strip. This is to help you stick to your course.
- For those beginning the course for the first time, specific instructions can be found in the patient information sheet.
- If you miss a dose, refer to the leaflet supplied for advice, or ask your doctor.
These directions are only intended as a guide. Refer to the leaflet for more detailed instructions before applying this treatment.
Mercilon side effects
Being aware of the potential side effects associated with this medicine is essential before first use. A summary is provided below but you can find detailed information inside the patient information leaflet. If you experience any side effects which could be harmful or are a cause for concern, contact your doctor immediately.
The following side effects are serious and will require you to seek medical advice right away:
Signs of a blood clot, which may include: painful swelling in your leg, sudden chest pain or coughing, or difficulty breathing.
Indications of a heart attack or stroke, such as: a first-time migraine or one which is more severe than normal, seizure, sudden loss of vision, dizziness, fainting, collapse, weakness along one side or in one section of the body, speech difficulty, or sudden sharp chest pain.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction, which may be: swelling of the face, lips, mouth, or upper airway.
Signs of breast cancer, such as: skin dimpling, changes in appearance of the nipples, or the presence of a lump (or lumps); or cervical cancer, which might be; smelly or bloody vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or pain during sex.
Jaundice or pain in the upper abdomen may also be an indicator of liver disease, which should be attended to by a doctor right away.
Common (1 in 100 people or more):
Migraine, headache, weight fluctuations, breast tenderness, rash, upset stomach, feeling or being sick, depression, changes in libido, heart and circulation problems, fluid retention, or irregular vaginal secretions.
Rare (1 in 1000 or less):
High blood pressure, gallstones, chorea, worsening of systemic lupus erythematosus, pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, worsening of otosclerosis, blood sugar problems, or aggravation of porphyria.
Taking it with other medicines
It is essential to disclose your medical history to your prescriber before using this pill. This includes any conditions you may have or have experienced in the past, as well as any medication you are currently taking.
Mercilon may interact with the following: certain epilepsy treatments such as primidone, phenytoins, barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate or felbamate; medications for tuberculosis including rifampicin; HIV medicines such as ritonavir; certain antifungal drugs; certain antibiotics, penicillins or tetracyclines; and St. John’s Wort.
Conditions to look out for
You will not be able to take Mercilon if you have or have ever had: severe high blood pressure; a heart attack or stroke; angina; a blood clot; a condition which you puts you at increased risk of experiencing a blood clot; lupus; diabetes with damaged blood vessels; severe liver disease or tumour; migraine with aura; or cancer of the breast, womb or ovary.
A doctor may choose not to issue this treatment if you have or have ever had the following: circulation problems; high triglyceride levels; diabetes; depression; liver or kidney dysfunction; migraines; or chloasma.
Q&A: our Mercilon discussion forum
Can I still drink alcohol?
Yes. Alcohol is not known to reduce the effects of this medicine.
Will I still be able to drive?
While Mercilon should not affect your ability to drive, if you experience any side effects which may make driving unsafe, you should avoid doing so and contact your nearest doctor.
Can I take this medication while pregnant?
No. Take a pregnancy test before use to ensure that this treatment is safe for you.
If you are breastfeeding, this item may not be safe for you to use, and a doctor may advise an alternative form of contraception.
How should I store it?
You should keep this treatment in a safe environment out of the reach of children, below 25°C.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
Do not use this medicine if you are allergic to any of the containing ingredients, which include: desogestrel, ethinylestradiol, aerosol, lactose, dl-alpha-tocopherol, potato starch, povidone, and stearic acid.
Is it available over-the-counter?
You can only buy Mercilon in the UK with a prescription.
Is it right for me?
Speaking to your doctor or family planning nurse will help you to determine which pill is best for you. They will be able to initiate treatment after deciding on the most suitable option.
To get your regular contraceptive pill delivered straight to your door, take our simple questionnaire. A doctor will evaluate your responses and issue a prescription if they believe the medication is safe. If it is, our registered pharmacy will ship your order right away, and you’ll receive it the following working day.
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