What is it?

The "traditional" progestogen-only pill (POP) prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching an egg. The desogestrel progestogen-only pill can also stop ovulation. These pills contain the hormone progestogen, but don't contain oestrogen. They need to be taken daily.

If taken correctly, this pill is more than 99% effective. This means fewer than one woman in 100 who uses the progestogen-only pill as contraception will get pregnant in one year. But with "typical use" of the progestogen-only pill (the way it's taken by a lot of women in real life), it's only about 92% effective.

To compare contraception methods and what will work best for you, use the Contraception Choices Tool.

You should be able to use the progestogen-only pill, but you may not be able to if you:

  • think you might be pregnant

  • do not want your periods to change

  • take other medicines that may affect the pill 

  • have unexplained bleeding in between periods or after sex

  • have developed arterial disease or heart disease or have had a stroke

  • have liver disease

  • have breast cancer or have had it in the past

  • have severe cirrhosis or liver tumours

  • Less side effects than the combined pill

  • Can be used by smokers

  • Is not reported to raise blood pressure 

  • It does not interrupt sex

  • you may not have regular periods while taking it – your periods may be lighter, more frequent, or may stop altogether, and you may get spotting between periods

  • it does not protect you against STIs

  • you need to remember to take it at or around the same time every day

  • some medicines, including some (uncommon) antibiotics, can make it less effective.

Make an appointment at one of our clinics to speak with a nurse or clinician to talk through your options and best suitable method of contraception for you.