Mercilon 28 84 Tablets/Pack (MSD brand)
ethinyloestradiol and desogestrel
Merck Sharp & Dohme
Oral contraceptive (oestrogen plus progestogen)
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Mercilon 28 general information
What is Mercilon 28 used for?
Mercilon 28 is a low dose combined oral contraceptive pill and is used as an effective means of birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contain a combination of two hormones at low doses in a single pill. Each pack of Mercilon 28 contains one month’s supply of pills of which there are 21 hormone-containing pills and 7 placebo (non-hormonal) pills, to allow each monthly cycle to end with a withdrawal bleed. When using Mercilon 28 for contraception, you will probably find that your periods become regular. You may also experience lighter, less painful menstruation and an improvement in pre-menstrual symptoms, like bloating, swelling or weight gain related to fluid retention, also improvement in acne and reductions in greasiness of the skin and hair.
How does Mercilon 28 work?
Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contain a combination of two hormones, ethinyloestradiol, a synthetic oestrogen, and Desogestrel, a synthetic progestogen, which work together to protect against pregnancy. Preparation for pregnancy depends on a complex interaction between the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries; oestrogen, which stimulates ovulation, and progesterone which prepares the endometrium (lining of the uterus) for implantation of an embryo, as well as other regulating hormones, produced by the hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland. Mercilon 28 combined hormonal contraception works by disrupting the normal menstrual, preventing egg maturation and suppressing ovulation, as well as preventing development of the endometrium, so that a fertilised egg would not be able to implant and grow. Another contraceptive action of Mercilon 28 pills is that the cervical mucus, which normally changes consistency at ovulation to become thinner, remains thick, forming a physical barrier to sperm. Desogestrel, the progestogen component of Mercilon 28 is one of the newer synthetic progestogens and has very little androgenic activity, unlike natural progesterone and therefore has a beneficial effect on androgen-related skin disorders, such as acne and hirsutism (unwanted hair).
What does Mercilon 28 contain?
Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contain the active ingredient combination of two hormones, ethinyloestradiol (0.02mg), a synthetic oestrogen, and Desogestrel (0.15mg), a synthetic progestogen, which work together to protect against pregnancy. The hormone-containing pills also contain: silica colloidal anhydrous, lactose monohydrate, potato starch, povidone, stearic acid, alpha-tocopherol. There are also 7 white non-hormonal tablets that do not contain any active ingredients but also contain lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, potato starch.
Taking Mercilon 28 as a contraceptive pill
Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contain a combination of two hormones, ethinyloestradiol, a synthetic oestrogen, and desogestrel, a synthetic progestogen, which work together to provide effective birth control by protecting against pregnancy. Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills work by preventing egg maturation and suppressing ovulation, as well as preventing development and thickening of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) in preparation for implantation, so that a fertilised egg would not be able to implant and grow. You must take your Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills continually to ensure effective contraception, with 21 days of hormonal pills followed by 7 days non-hormonal pills, during which time you will have a menstrual bleed, which may be light and less painful than usual.
Can you get pregnant if you miss a Mercilon 28 pill
Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills provide effective contraception when taken correctly and have a failure rate of approximately 1% per year. The failure rate may increase if you miss a pill and may result in an unwanted pregnancy. To prevent this ensure that you take your Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills correctly and continually.
What are the side effects of Mercilon 28?
The most commonly reported side effects when taking Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills include: breast tenderness, breast pain, abdominal pain, nausea, oedema, and headache, skin rash and itching, insomnia and depression. Less common side effects include: migraine, fluid retention, changes in body weight, changes in libido.
When should Mercilon 28 not be used?
You should not use Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills if you:
- are allergic to ethinyloestradiol or desogestrel or any ingredients in Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills
- have a past or family history of carcinoma of the breast or endometrial carcinoma
- have liver disease
- have high blood pressure, lipid disorders or migraine
- have had deep venous thrombosis, thromboembolic disorders, heart attack or stroke
- have diabetes with changes to the blood vessels
- have diabetes without discussion with your doctor as you may need to change your dose of medication when taking Mercilon 28
- have abnormal genital bleeding of unknown cause
- are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- are taking other medications that may interact with Mercilon 28, such as anticonvulsants like phenytoin and carbamazepin, barbiturates, anti-infectives like rifampicin, rifabutin, nevirapine, the antifungal griseofulvin, antibiotics like penicillin, preparations containing St John's Wort
What medications interact with Mercilon 28?
Some medications interact with Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills and prevent them working effectively, increasing your risk of becoming pregnant. If you are taking any of the following you may need to take other contraceptive precautions:
- anticonvulsants like phenytoin and carbamazepin
- anti-infectives like rifampicin, rifabutin, nevirapine, griseofulvin
- antibiotics like penicillin
- preparations containing St John's Wort
What are the health risks of Mercilon 28?
Combination contraceptive pills like Mercilon 28 can increase risk of thrombosis (blood clots), which can have serious consequence depending on where the clot forms. There is also an increased risk of breast cancer.
How should Mercilon 28 be taken?
Each pack of Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contains 28 pills for a complete monthly cycle and should be taken continually to ensure effective contraception. The first 21 pills large white contain the contraceptive hormones and the last 7 small white pills are a placebo, which do not contain any hormones. While you are taking these placebo pills you will have a menstrual bleed. When you have finished one pack, start a new one the next day. If you have gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking your hormonal pill, this is the same as missing a pill and you should take other contraceptive precautions for the next 7 days.
How long should you take Mercilon 28?
Each pack of Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills contains 28 pills for a complete monthly cycle and should be taken continually to ensure effective contraception. You should take Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills for as long as your doctor recommends.
Missed dose of Mercilon 28
If you miss a dose of Mercilon 28 follow these guidelines to help you decide what to do:
Weeks 1 to 3 (large white hormonal pills)
- If you are less than 12 hours late in taking your pill, take it as soon as you remember and take the next one at your usual time. You are still protected against pregnancy.
- If you are more than 12 hours late in taking your pill, take the last tablet as soon as you remember and take the next one at your normal time, which may mean taking 2 tablets in one day. Contraceptive protection may be reduced and you are at risk of becoming pregnant, unless you take other contraceptive precautions for the next 7 days.
Week 4 (small white non-hormonal pills)
Take the next pill as usual and discard the missed pill. You are not at risk of becoming pregnant.
How should Mercilon 28 be stored?
Keep your Mercilon 28 contraceptive pills in their calendar pack until use and store your below 25°C in a cool dry place.