What is Cilest?
Cilest is a contraceptive pill used to prevent pregnancy, that contains oestrogen and progestogen.
How does Cilest work?
Cilest contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones prevent an egg being released from your ovaries so you can’t get pregnant. Also, Cilest makes the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb.
What are the benefits of taking Cilest?
Using Cilest provides women with protection against unwanted pregnancies, allowing them more freedom with both their daily and sex lives. Because of the hormones it contains, Cilest can also help to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, or stop symptoms altogether for those who suffer badly.
When it comes to contraceptive pills, there are two different types; the combined pill and the progestogen-only pill (also known as POP). Cilest fits into the first category, which are popular among women as they are a reliable and reversible method of contraception, plus it doesn’t interrupt sex. Cilest can also make your periods regular, lighter and less painful
How do I use Cilest?
Cilest is a prescription-only medication. Always follow the advice of your doctor and read the patient information leaflet provided in the medication packet. Take the tablets orally by swallowing whole with some water.
When starting Cilest, you should take the first tablet up to and including day 5 of your next period to ensure you have protection from the first pill. You can also start your Cilest whenever you choose, but you should be aware that the protection won’t kick in until 7 days of taking it correctly (and therefore you will need to use extra contraception for this time, such as condoms).
If you wish to start taking Cilest but are already on a different pill, then you can start Cilest at any time (provided you are not pregnant). If you are using a non-hormonal method of contraception and your period started more than 5 days ago then you will need to use additional contraception until you have taken the first 7 pills correctly.
For women who have just had a baby and wish to start Cilest, you should consult your doctor as the risk of blood clots can be higher at this time. If you have had an abortion or miscarriage, your doctor can advise you about using Cilest.
The packets are clearly marked with days of the week and arrows to guide users on the direction of use. You select your first pill based on the day of the week that you begin (for example, if you start on a Wednesday then take the tablet on the first row marked ‘Wed’). Follow the direction of the arrows, taking one tablet a day until you finish the pack.
Once you have had the 21 tablets in the pack, you should have a 7 day break with no pills. You will still be protected against pregnancy during this time, provided you were taking the pills correctly. After the 7 day break, you should begin the next pack on the appropriate day (so if your last pill from the previous pack was on a Friday, you should begin the new pack on the following Saturday). During the break, you should have some vaginal bleeding like a period and even if it has not stopped by the time you are due to begin the next Cilest pack, you should still start it on the intended day.
Cilest tablets come as 35/250 microgram film-coated tablets containing thinylestradiol and norgestimate respectively. Those using it should take one per day at approximately the same time for 21 days and then have a 7 day break, meaning that each pack equates to a 4 week supply.
Missing pills or starting a strip late may make your pill less effective. If you miss one pill then just take it when you remember and it won’t be a problem. If you miss more than one or start a pack more than one day late then it may mean you are not protected against pregnancy. If this happens, continue to take the pill as normal, taking the most recent missed pill and leaving any additional missed ones in the pack, but use extra contraception (such as condoms) for 7 days.
If you are sick or have very bad diarrhoea, your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill. If you have been sick within 2 hours of taking Cilest, just take a pill from a spare strip. Carry on taking your pills as normal if you can and you shouldn’t need to use extra contraception.
If you want to delay having a period, finish the strip of pills you are taking. Start the next strip the next day without the usual 7 day break and then continue as normal.
Side effects & precautions
Before taking Cilest, you should always first consult your doctor. You should not take Cilest if any of the following apply to you:
- If you have (or have ever had) a blood clot in a blood vessel
- If you have a disorder affecting your blood clotting
- If you need an operation or if you are off your feet for a long time
- If you have ever had a heart attack or stroke
- If you have (or have ever had) angina pectoris
- If you have severe diabetes with blood vessel damage, very high blood pressure, very high level of fat in the blood (cholesterol or triglycerides), or a condition called hyperhomocysteinaemia
- If you have (or have ever had) a type of migraine called ‘migraine with aura’
- If you have breast or liver cancer
- If you have or have recently had a severe liver disease
- If you are being treated with antiviral drug combinations containing paritaprevir/ritonavir, ombitasvir, and/or dasabuvir
- If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients in Cilest.
Your prescription of Cilest may also be affected by a number of other factors, so you should make your doctor aware if any of the following apply:
- problems with your heart, circulation or blood clotting
- diabetes without secondary problems
- liver problems or gall bladder disease
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (chronic inflammatory bowel disease)
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- history of migraines
- elevated levels of fat in the blood or a positive family history for this condition.
- just given birth
- haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS, a disorder of blood clotting causing failure of the kidneys)
- sickle cell anaemia
- varicose veins
- inflammation in the veins under the skin
Like many medications with active ingredients, Cilest can affect or be affected by other medicines. Particular medications that you may experience this include the following:
- some medicines used to treat epilepsy
- bosentan (for high blood pressure)
- certain medicines for tuberculosis
- anti-HIV medicines
- treatment of Hepatitis C infections
- griseofulvin (for fungal infections)
- modafinil (for excessive daytime sleepiness)
- certain sedatives (called ‘barbiturates’)
- St. John’s Wort (a herbal remedy)
If you are taking any of the above medications, then you should make your doctor aware so that they can advise whether or not Cilest will be the best course of action for you.
Breast cancer has been found slightly more often in women who take the Pill than in women of the same age who do not take the Pill. If women stop taking the Pill, this reduces the risk, so that 10 years after stopping the Pill, the risk is the same as for women who have never taken it. Either way, you should check your breasts regularly and notify your doctor if you notice any lumps or changes.
Deep venous thrombosis is a rare occurrence. It can develop whether or not you are taking the Pill, however, the risk is higher for those who are taking it. You should notify your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of development.
The most common side effects of using Cilest include:
- Stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
- Bleeding and spotting between your periods for the first few months
- Painful or unusual periods
- Painful breasts
- Vaginal infections such as thrush
- No menstrual periods
- Weight gain.
If you do experience one or more of these side effects and they persist or worsen, then inform your doctor right away. You should also contact your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects, such as signs of a blood clot, breast cancer or liver problems.