Medication Guide App

MERCILON

Active substance: ETHINYLOESTRADIOL

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Package leaflet: Information for the user

2 What you need to know before
you use Mercilon

General notes
Desogestrel (150 micrograms)
Ethinyl estradiol (20 micrograms)

Important things to know about combined hormonal
contraceptives (CHCs):

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking
this medicine.
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
• If you have any questions or need more advice, ask your doctor,
family planning nurse or pharmacist.
• This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on
to others. It may harm them.
• If any of the side effects gets severe, or if you notice any
not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor, family planning
nurse or pharmacist.

In this leaflet:

1
2
3
4
5
6

What Mercilon does
What you need to know before you use Mercilon
Taking Mercilon
3.3 A missed Pill
Possible side effects
How to store Mercilon
What is in Mercilon and who makes it

1 What Mercilon does
Mercilon is a combined oral contraceptive pill (‘the Pill’). You take it to
stop you getting pregnant.
This low-dose contraceptive 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.
Mercilon also makes the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker which
makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb.
Mercilon is a 21-day pill – you take one each day for 21 days, followed
by 7 days when you take no pills.
The benefits of taking the Pill include:
• it is one of the most reliable reversible methods of
contraception if used correctly
• it doesn’t interrupt sex
• it usually makes your periods regular, lighter and less painful
• it may help with pre-menstrual symptoms.
Mercilon will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections,
such as Chlamydia or HIV. Only condoms can help to do this.
Mercilon needs to be taken as directed to prevent pregnancy.

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Before you start taking the Pill

• Your doctor will ask about you and your family’s medical
problems and check your blood pressure. You may also need
other checks, such as a breast examination.

While you’re on the Pill

• You will need regular check-ups with your doctor or family
planning nurse, usually when you need another prescription of
the Pill.
• You should go for regular cervical smear tests.
• Check your breasts and nipples every month for changes –
tell your doctor if you can see or feel anything odd, such as
lumps or dimpling of the skin.
• If you need a blood test tell your doctor that you are taking
the Pill, because the Pill can affect the results of some tests.
• If you’re going to have an operation, make sure your doctor
knows about it. You may need to stop taking the Pill about
4–6 weeks before the operation. This is to reduce the risk of a
blood clot (see section 2.1). Your doctor will tell you when you
can start taking the Pill again.

2.1 When you should not use Mercilon
You should not use Mercilon if you have any of the conditions listed
below. If you do have any of the conditions listed below, you must tell
your doctor. Your doctor will discuss with you what other form of birth
control would be more appropriate. See also section 2.2 ‘When to take
special care with Mercilon’.
• if you have (or have ever had) a blood clot in a blood vessel of
your legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT), your lungs (pulmonary
embolus, PE) or other organs;
• if you know you have a disorder affecting your blood clotting – for
instance, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, antithrombinIII deficiency, Factor V Leiden or antiphospholipid antibodies;
• if you need an operation or if you are off your feet for a long time
(see section ‘Blood clots’);
• if you have ever had a heart attack or stroke;
• if you have (or have ever had) angina pectoris (a condition that
causes severe chest pain and may be a first sign of a heart attack)
or transient ischaemic attack [TIA -temporary stroke symptoms]).
• if you have any of the following diseases that may increase your
risk of a clot in the arteries:
- severe diabetes with blood vessel damage
- very high blood pressure
- a very high level of fat in the blood (cholesterol or triglycerides)
- a condition known as hyperhomocysteinaemia
• if you have (or have ever had) a type of migraine called ‘migraine
with aura’;
• If you have or have recently had a severe liver disease
• If you have ever had a liver tumour
• If you have cancer affected by sex hormones – such as some
cancers of the breast, womb lining or ovary
• If you have vaginal bleeding that has not been explained by your
doctor
• If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients in
Mercilon.
If you suffer from any of these, or get them for the first time while
taking Mercilon, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Do not take
Mercilon.

When should you contact your doctor?
Seek urgent medical attention
– if you notice possible signs of a blood clot that may mean
you are suffering from a blood clot in the leg (i.e. deep
vein thrombosis), a blood clot in the lung (i.e. pulmonary
embolism), a heart attack or a stroke (see ‘Blood clots’
section below).
For a description of the symptoms of these serious side effects
please go to “How to recognise a blood clot”.

Tell your doctor if any of the following conditions apply
to you.

If the condition develops, or gets worse while you are using Mercilon,
you should also tell your doctor.
• If you have ever had problems with your heart, circulation or
blood clotting
• If you have diabetes
• If you have ever had kidney or liver problems
• If you have ever had severe depression
• If you have ever had migraines
• If you have had problems while pregnant or while using the
pill, like:
- itching of the whole body (pruritus)
- jaundice which was not caused by infection
- gall stones
- systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- a blister-like rash, called herpes gestationis
- a hearing problem called otosclerosis
- other rare conditions called porphyria and hereditary
angiodema
• If you have brown patches on your face or body (chloasma) –
if so avoid too much exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light.
• if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (chronic
inflammatory bowel disease);
• if you have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE - a disease
affecting your natural defence system);
• if you have haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS - a disorder of
blood clotting causing failure of the kidneys);
• if you have sickle cell anaemia (an inherited disease of the red
blood cells);
• if you have elevated levels of fat in the blood
(hypertriglyceridaemia) or a positive family history for this
condition. Hypertriglyceridaemia has been associated with an
increased risk of developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the
pancreas);
• if you need an operation, or you are off your feet for a long
time (see in section 2 ‘Blood clots’);
• if you have just given birth you are at an increased risk of
blood clots. You should ask your doctor how soon after
delivery you can start taking Mercilon;
• if you have an inflammation in the veins under the skin
(superficial thrombophlebitis);
• if you have varicose veins;

2.2.1. The Pill and Thrombosis
BLOOD CLOTS

Using a combined hormonal contraceptive such as Mercilon, increases
your risk of developing a blood clot compared with not using one.
In rare cases a blood clot can block blood vessels and cause serious
problems.
Blood clots can develop
• in veins (referred to as a ‘venous thrombosis’, ‘venous
thromboembolism’ or VTE)
• in the arteries (referred to as an ‘arterial thrombosis’, ‘arterial
thromboembolism’ or ATE).
Recovery from blood clots is not always complete. Rarely, there may
be serious lasting effects or, very rarely, they may be fatal.
It is important to remember that the overall risk of a harmful blood
clot due to Mercilon is small.

HOW TO RECOGNISE A BLOOD CLOT

Seek urgent medical attention if you notice any of the following signs
or symptoms.
What are
Are you experiencing any of these signs?
you possibly
suffering from?
• swelling of one leg or along a vein in the leg or Deep vein
foot especially when accompanied by:
thrombosis
• pain or tenderness in the leg which may be
felt only when standing or walking
• increased warmth in the affected leg
• change in colour of the skin on the leg
e.g. turning pale, red or blue
• sudden unexplained breathlessness or rapid Pulmonary
breathing;
embolism
• sudden cough without an obvious cause,
which may bring up blood;
• sharp chest pain which may increase with
deep breathing;
• severe light headedness or dizziness;
• rapid or irregular heartbeat;
• severe pain in your stomach;
If you are unsure, talk to a doctor as some of
these symptoms such as coughing or being
short of breath may be mistaken for a milder
condition such as a respiratory tract infection
(e.g. a ‘common cold’).
Symptoms most commonly occur in one eye:
Retinal vein
• immediate loss of vision or
thrombosis
• painless blurring of vision which can progress (blood clot in
to loss of vision
the eye)
• chest pain, discomfort, pressure, heaviness; Heart attack
• sensation of squeezing or fullness in the
chest, arm or below the breastbone;
• fullness, indigestion or choking feeling;
• upper body discomfort radiating to the back,
jaw, throat, arm and stomach;
• sweating, nausea, vomiting or dizziness;
• extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of
breath;
• rapid or irregular heartbeats
• sudden weakness or numbness of the face,
Stroke
arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
• sudden confusion, trouble speaking or
understanding;
• sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
• sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of
balance or coordination;
• sudden, severe or prolonged headache with
no known cause;
• loss of consciousness or fainting with or
without seizure.
Sometimes the symptoms of stroke can be brief
with an almost immediate and full recovery, but
you should still seek urgent medical attention as
you may be at risk of another stroke.
• swelling and slight blue discolouration of an
Blood clots
extremity;
blocking other
• severe pain in your stomach (acute abdomen) blood vessels

BLOOD CLOTS IN A VEIN
What can happen if a blood clot forms in a vein?

• The use of combined hormonal contraceptives has been
connected with an increase in the risk of blood clots in the vein
(venous thrombosis). However, these side effects are rare. Most
frequently, they occur in the first year of use of a combined
hormonal contraceptive.
• If a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg or foot it can cause a deep
vein thrombosis (DVT).
• If a blood clot travels from the leg and lodges in the lung it can
cause a pulmonary embolism.
• Very rarely a clot may form in a vein in another organ such as the
eye (retinal vein thrombosis).

When is the risk of developing a blood clot in a vein
highest?

The risk of developing a blood clot in a vein is highest during the
first year of taking a combined hormonal contraceptive for the
first time. The risk may also be higher if you restart taking a combined
hormonal contraceptive (the same product or a different product) after
a break of 4 weeks or more.
After the first year, the risk gets smaller but is always slightly higher
than if you were not using a combined hormonal contraceptive.
When you stop Mercilon your risk of a blood clot returns to normal
within a few weeks.

What is the risk of developing a blood clot?

The risk depends on your natural risk of VTE and the type of combined
hormonal contraceptive you are taking.
The overall risk of a blood clot in the leg or lung (DVT or PE) with
Marcilon is small.
• Out of 10,000 women who are not using any combined hormonal
contraceptive and are not pregnant, about 2 will develop a blood
clot in a year.
• Out of 10,000 women who are using a combined hormonal
contraceptive that contains levonorgestrel, norethisterone, or
norgestimate about 5-7 will develop a blood clot in a year.
• Out of 10,000 women who are using a combined hormonal
contraceptive that contains desogestrel such as Mercilon between
about 9 and 12 women will develop a blood clot in a year.
• The risk of having a blood clot will vary according to your personal
medical history (see “Factors that increase your risk of a blood
clot” below).
Risk of developing a blood
clot in a year
About 2 out of
10,000 women

Women who are not using a
combined hormonal pill/patch/ring
and are not pregnant
Women using a combined hormonal About 5-7 out of
contraceptive pill containing
10,000 women
levonorgestrel, norethisterone or
norgestimate
Women using Mercilon
About 9-12 out of
10,000 women

Factors that increase your risk of a blood clot in a vein
The risk of a blood clot with Mercilon is small but some conditions will
increase the risk. Your risk is higher:
• if you are very overweight (body mass index or BMI over 30kg/m2);
• if one of your immediate family has had a blood clot in the leg, lung
or other organ at a young age (e.g. below the age of about 50).
In this case you could have a hereditary blood clotting disorder;
• if you need to have an operation, or if you are off your feet for a
long time because of an injury or illness, or you have your leg in a
cast. The use of Mercilon may need to be stopped several weeks
before surgery or while you are less mobile. If you need to stop
Mercilon ask your doctor when you can start using it again.
• as you get older (particularly above about 35 years);
• if you gave birth less than a few weeks ago
The risk of developing a blood clot increases the more conditions you
have.
Air travel (> 4 hours) may temporarily increase your risk of a blood clot,
particularly if you have some of the other factors listed.
It is important to tell your doctor if any of these conditions apply to
you, even if you are unsure. Your doctor may decide that Mercilon
needs to be stopped.
If any of the above conditions change while you are using Mercilon,
for example a close family member experiences a thrombosis for no
known reason; or you gain a lot of weight, tell your doctor.

BLOOD CLOTS IN AN ARTERY
What can happen if a blood clot forms in an artery?
Like a blood clot in a vein, a clot in an artery can cause serious
problems. For example, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

Factors that increase your risk of a blood clot in an artery
It is important to note that the risk of a heart attack or stroke from
using Mercilon is very small but can increase:
• with increasing age (beyond about 35 years);

• if you smoke. When using a combined hormonal contraceptive
like Mercilon you are advised to stop smoking. If you are unable to
stop smoking and are older than 35 your doctor may advise you
to use a different type of contraceptive;
• if you are overweight;
• if you have high blood pressure;
• if a member of your immediate family has had a heart attack or
stroke at a young age (less than about 50). In this case you could
also have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke;
• if you, or someone in your immediate family, have a high level of
fat in the blood (cholesterol or triglycerides);
• if you get migraines, especially migraines with aura;
• if you have a problem with your heart (valve disorder, disturbance
of the rhythm called atrial fibrillation)
• if you have diabetes.
If you have more than one of these conditions or if any of them are
particularly severe the risk of developing a blood clot may be increased
even more.
If any of the above conditions change while you are using Mercilon,
for example you start smoking, a close family member experiences a
thrombosis for no known reason; or you gain a lot of weight, tell your
doctor.

2.2.2 The Pill and cancer
The Pill reduces your risk of cancer of the ovary and womb if used
in the long term. However, it also seems to slightly increase your risk
of cancer of the cervix – although this may be due to having sex
without a condom rather than the Pill itself. All women should have
regular smear tests.
If you have breast cancer, or have had it in the past, you should not
take the Pill. The Pill slightly increases your risk of breast cancer. This
risk goes up the longer you’re on the Pill, but returns to normal within
about 10 years of stopping it. Because breast cancer is rare in women
under the age of 40 the extra number of cases of breast cancer in
current and recent users of the Pill is small.
For example:
• Of 10,000 women who have never taken the Pill, about
16 will have breast cancer by the time they are 35 years.
• Of 10,000 women who take the Pill for 5 years in their early
twenties, about 17-18 will have breast cancer by the time
they are 35 years.
• Of 10,000 women who have never taken the Pill, about
100 will have breast cancer by the time they are 45 years old.
• Of 10,000 women who take the Pill for 5 years in their early
thirties, about 110 will have breast cancer by the time they
are 45 years old.

Your risk of breast cancer is higher:

• if you have a close relative (mother, sister or grandmother)
who has had breast cancer
• if you are seriously overweight
See a doctor as soon as possible if you notice any changes in
your breasts, such as dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple or
any lumps you can see or feel.
Taking the Pill has also been linked to liver diseases, such as jaundice
and non-cancer liver tumours, but this is rare. Very rarely, the Pill has
also been linked with some forms of liver cancer in women who have
taken it for a long time.
See a doctor as soon as possible if you get severe pain in your
stomach, or yellow skin or eyes (jaundice). You may need to stop
taking Mercilon.

2.4 Taking other medicines
If you ever need to take another medicine at the same time as being
on the Pill, always tell your doctor, pharmacist or dentist that you’re
taking Mercilon. Also check the leaflets that come with all your
medicines to see if they can be taken with hormonal contraceptives.
Some medicines can stop Mercilon from working properly – for
example:
• some medicines used to treat epilepsy (primidone, phenytoins,
barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate,
felbamate)
• medicine to treat tuberculosis (rifampicin)
• certain HIV medicines (ritonavir)
• certain antibiotics (penicillins, tetracyclines)
• St. John’s Wort (a herbal remedy)
• Griseofulvin (an antifungal drug).

If you do need to take one of these medicines, Mercilon may not be
suitable for you, or you may be able to take Mercilon and use extra
contraception for a while. Your doctor, pharmacist or dentist can tell
you if this is necessary and for how long.
Mercilon can also affect how well other medicines work. For
example ciclosporin and lamotrigine. Remind your doctor if you are
taking these in case your treatment needs to be adjusted.

2.4 Taking Mercilon with food and drink
There are no special instructions about food and drink while on Mercilon.

2.5 Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Do not use Mercilon if you are pregnant. If you think you might be
pregnant, do a pregnancy test to confirm that you are before you stop
taking Mercilon.
Mercilon is not recommended for use during breast-feeding. Ask
your doctor or family planning nurse about alternative contraception.
Breast-feeding may not stop you getting pregnant.

2.6 Driving and using machines
Mercilon has no known effect on the ability to drive or use machines.

2.7 Mercilon contains lactose
If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to
some sugars, contact your doctor before using Mercilon.

2.8 Use in adolescents
No clinical data on efficacy and safety are available in adolescents
below 18 years.

3 Taking Mercilon
3.1 How to take it
To prevent pregnancy, always take Mercilon exactly as described below.
Check with your doctor or family planning nurse if you are not sure.
Take Mercilon every day for 21 days
Mercilon comes in strips of 21 pills, each marked with a day of the week.
• Take your pill at the same time every day.
• Start by taking a pill marked with the correct day of the week.
• Follow the direction of the arrows on the strip. Take one pill
each day, until you have finished all 21 pills.
• Swallow each pill whole, with water if necessary. Do not chew
the pill.
Then have seven pill-free days
After you have taken all 21 pills in the strip, you have seven days when
you take no pills. So if you take the last pill of one pack on a Friday,
you will take the first pill of your next pack on the Saturday of the
following week.
Within a few days of taking the last pill from the strip, you should have
a withdrawal bleed like a period. This bleed may not have finished
when it is time to start your next strip of pills.
You don’t need to use extra contraception during these seven pill-free
days – as long as you have taken your pills correctly and start the next
strip of pills on time.
Then start your next strip
Start taking your next strip of Mercilon after the seven pill-free days –
even if you are still bleeding. Always start the new strip on time.
As long as you take Mercilon correctly, you will always start each new
strip on the same day of the week.

3.2 Starting Mercilon
As a new user or starting the Pill again after a break

Either take your first Mercilon pill on the first day of your next period.
By starting in this way, you will have contraceptive protection with your
first pill.
Or if your period has already begun start taking Mercilon on day 5
(counting the first day of your period as day 1) whether or not your
bleeding has stopped. You must also use extra contraception, such as
condoms, until you have taken the first seven pills correctly.

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• They are one of the most reliable reversible methods of
contraception if used correctly.
• They slightly increase the risk of having a blood clot in
the veins and arteries, especially in the first year or when
restarting a combined hormonal contraceptive following a
break of 4 or more weeks.
• Please be alert and see your doctor if you think you may have
symptoms of a blood clot (see section 2 “Blood clots”).
• Some women should not take the Pill because of current
medical problems or illnesses. Please read this leaflet to make
sure Mercilon is right for you.
• To prevent pregnancy it is important to take Mercilon as
instructed and to start each pack on time. Please make sure
that you understand what to do if you miss a pill or if you think
you are pregnant.

Before you start using Mercilon you should read the information
on blood clots in section 2. It is particularly important to read the
symptoms of a blood clot - see section 2 “Blood clots”.
It’s important that you understand the benefits and risks of taking the
Pill before you start taking it, or when deciding whether to carry on
taking it. Although the Pill is suitable for most healthy women it isn’t
suitable for everyone.
Tell your doctor if you have any of the illnesses or risk factors
mentioned in this leaflet.

2.2 When to take special care with Mercilon

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Changing to Mercilon from another contraceptive Pill

• If you are currently on a 21-day Pill: start taking Mercilon
the next day after the end of the previous strip. You will have
contraceptive protection with your first pill but you will not have
a bleed until after you finish your first strip of Mercilon.
• If you are currently on a 28-day Pill: start taking Mercilon
the day after your last active pill. You will have contraceptive
protection with your first pill. You will not have a bleed until after
you finish your first strip of Mercilon.
• Or if you are taking a progestogen-only Pill (mini-Pill or POP):
start Mercilon on the first day of bleeding, even if you have
already taken the POP for that day. You will have contraceptive
cover straight away. If you don’t usually have any bleeding while
you are taking a progestogen-only Pill, you can stop taking it
any day and start Mercilon the next day. You will need to use
extra contraception, such as a condom, for seven days.

Starting Mercilon after a miscarriage or abortion

If you have had a miscarriage or an abortion, your doctor may tell you
to start taking Mercilon straight away. This means that you will have
contraceptive protection with your first pill.

Contraception after having a baby

If you have just had a baby, ask your doctor for advice about
contraception.
If you are not breast-feeding:
• you can start taking Mercilon three weeks after the birth or,
• you can start taking Mercilon more than three weeks after
the birth but you need to use extra contraception, such as a
condom until you have taken the first seven pills correctly.
• If you have had sex since the birth there is a chance that you
could be pregnant, you should therefore use another form of
contraception, such as a condom. In this case, take your first
Mercilon pill on the first day of your next period.

Changing to Mercilon from a progestogen-only injection,
implant of progestogen releasing intrauterine device (IUD)
Start taking Mercilon when your next injection is due or on the day that
your implant or IUD is removed. Make sure you also use an additional
contraceptive method, such as a condom, for the first 7 days that you
are taking Mercilon.

3.4 A lost pill
If you lose a pill,
Either take the last pill of the strip in place of the lost pill. Then take all
the other pills on their proper days. Your cycle will be one day shorter
than normal, but your contraceptive protection won’t be affected. After
your seven pill-free days you will have a new starting day, one day
earlier than before.
Or if you do not want to change the starting day of your cycle, take
a pill from a spare strip. Then take all the other pills from your current
strip as usual.
You can then keep the opened spare strip in case you lose any more
pills.

3.5 If you are sick or have diarrhoea

3.3 A missed pill
If you miss a pill, follow these instructions:

START HERE

If you have missed any of the pills in a strip, and you do not bleed
in the first pill-free break, you may be pregnant. Contact your doctor
or family planning clinic, or do a pregnancy test yourself.
If you start a new strip of pills late, or make your “week off” longer
than seven days, you may not be protected from pregnancy. If you
had sex in the last seven days, ask your doctor, family planning nurse
or pharmacist for advice. You may need to consider emergency
contraception. You should also use extra contraception, such as a
condom, for seven days.

When were you due to take the missed Pill?

Less than 12 hours ago

More than 12 hours ago, or you have missed more than
one Pill

• Take the delayed pill straight away, and further pills
as usual. This may mean taking two pills in one day.
• Don’t worry, your contraceptive protection should
not be reduced.

• Take the most recently missed pill straight away.
• Leave any earlier missed pills in the strip.
• Take your further pills as usual. This may mean taking two pills in
one day.
• Use extra precautions (condoms, for instance) for the next
7 days.
• Check how many pills are left in the strip after the most recently
missed pill.

If you are sick (vomit) or have very bad diarrhoea your body may not
get its usual dose of hormones from that pill.
If you vomit within 3 to 4 hours after taking your pill, this is like missing
a pill. You must follow the advice for missed pills – see section 3.3,
A missed pill.
If you have severe diarrhoea for more than 12 hours after taking
Mercilon follow the instructions for if you are more than 12 hours late –
see section 3.3, A missed pill.
Talk to your doctor if your stomach upset carries on or gets
worse. He or she may recommend another form of contraception.

3.6 Missed a period – could you be pregnant?
Occasionally, you may miss a withdrawal bleed. This could mean that
you are pregnant, but that is very unlikely if you have taken your pills
correctly. Start your next strip at the normal time. If you think that you
might have put yourself at risk of pregnancy (for example, by missing
pills or taking other medicines), or if you miss a second bleed, you
should do a pregnancy test. You can buy these from the chemist or get
a free test at your family planning clinic or doctors surgery. If you are
pregnant, stop taking Mercilon and see your doctor.

3.7 Taking more than one pill should not cause
harm
It is unlikely that taking more than one pill will do you any harm, but you
may feel sick, vomit or have some vaginal bleeding. Talk to your doctor
if you have any of these symptoms.

3.8 You can delay a period

7 or more pills left in the pack

Fewer than 7 pills left in the pack

If you want to delay having a period, finish the strip of pills you are
taking. Start the next strip the next day without a break. Take this strip
the usual way. After the second strip, leave seven pill-free days as
usual, then start your next strip of pills in the normal way. When you
use the second strip, you may have some unexpected bleeding or
spotting on the days that you take the pill, but don’t worry.

3.9 When you want to get pregnant
• Don’t forget to use extra precautions for the next 7 days.
• When you have finished the strip, leave the usual 7-day
break before starting the next strip.
• If you have missed one or more pills from the first
week of your strip (days 1 to 7) and you had sex in that
week, you could become pregnant. Contact your doctor,
family planning nurse or pharmacist for advice as soon
as possible. They may recommend you use emergency
contraception.

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• Don’t forget to use extra precautions for the next 7 days.
• When you finish the strip of pills, start the next strip the next day
without a break.
• If you do not have a withdrawal bleed after you have finished the
second strip, do a pregnancy test before starting another strip.
• If you have missed one or more pills from the first week of
your strip (days 1 to 7) and you had sex in that week, you could
become pregnant. Contact your doctor, family planning nurse or
pharmacist for advice as soon as possible.

If you are planning a baby, it’s best to use another method of
contraception after stopping Mercilon until you have had a proper period.
Your doctor or midwife relies on the date of your last natural period before
you get pregnant to tell you when your baby is due. However, it will not
cause you or the baby any harm if you get pregnant straight away.

4 Possible side effects
Like all medicines, Mercilon can cause side effects, although not
everybody gets them. If you get any side effect, particularly if severe
and persistent, or have any change to your health that you think may
be due to Mercilon, please talk to your doctor.

An increased risk of blood clots in your veins (venous thromboembolism
(VTE)) or blood clots in your arteries (arterial thromboembolism (ATE)) is
present for all women taking combined hormonal contraceptives. For
more detailed information on the different risks from taking combined
hormonal contraceptives please see section 2 “What you need to know
before you use Mercilon”.

4.1 Serious side effects – see a doctor straight
away
Signs of deep vein thrombosis include;
• swelling of one leg or along a vein in the leg or foot especially when
• accompanied by:
• pain or tenderness in the leg which may be felt only when standing
or walking
• increased warmth in the affected leg
• change in colour of the skin on the leg e.g. turning pale, red or blue
Signs of a pulmonary embolism:
• sudden unexplained breathlessness or rapid breathing;
• sudden cough without an obvious cause, which may bring up blood;
• sharp chest pain which may increase with deep breathing;
• severe light headedness or dizziness;
• rapid or irregular heartbeat;
• severe pain in your stomach;
If you are unsure, talk to a doctor as some of these symptoms such
as coughing or being short of breath may be mistaken for a milder
condition such as a respiratory tract infection (e.g. a ‘common cold’).
Signs of retinal vein thrombosis (blood clot in the eye):
• Symptoms most commonly occur in one eye:
• immediate loss of vision or
• painless blurring of vision which can progress to loss of vision
Signs of heart attack:
• chest pain, discomfort, pressure, heaviness;
• sensation of squeezing or fullness in the chest, arm or below the
breastbone;
• fullness, indigestion or choking feeling;
• upper body discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, arm and
stomach;
• sweating, nausea, vomiting or dizziness;
• extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath;
• rapid or irregular heartbeats
Signs of a stroke:
• sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially
on one side of the body;
• sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
• sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
• sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;
• sudden, severe or prolonged headache with no known cause;
• loss of consciousness or fainting with or without seizure.
Sometimes the symptoms of stroke can be brief with an almost
immediate and full recovery, but you should still seek urgent medical
attention as you may be at risk of another stroke.
Signs of blood clots blocking other blood vessels:
• swelling and slight blue discolouration of an extremity;
• severe pain in your stomach (acute abdomen)
Signs of a severe allergic reaction to Mercilon
• swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat.
Signs of breast cancer include:
• dimpling of the skin
• changes in the nipple
• any lumps you can see or feel.
Signs of cancer of the cervix include:
• vaginal discharge that smells and contains blood
• Unusual vaginal bleeding
• pelvic pain
• painful sex.
Signs of severe liver problems include:
• severe pain in your upper abdomen
• yellow skin or eyes (jaundice).
If you think you may have any of these, see a doctor straight
away. You may need to stop taking Mercilon.

4.2 Possible side effects

Common (more than 1 in 100 people who take Mercilon are affected)
• Migraine or headache (see a doctor as soon as possible
if this is your first migraine or it’s worse than usual, or if the
headache is severe, unusual or long lasting)
• Putting on weight or losing weight
• Breast problems, such as painful or tender breasts; producing
a milky fluid from the nipples
• Depression or mood changes
• Changes in sexual desire
• Heart or circulation problems, such as increased blood
pressure, swollen hands, ankles or feet – a sign of fluid retention
• Changes in vaginal secretions–Irregular vaginal bleeding see section 4.3, Bleeding between periods should not last long
• Skin problems, such as rash; bruise-like swelling to the shins
(erythema nodosom)
• Stomach problems, such as nausea; vomiting
• Discomfort of the eyes if you wear contact lenses
Rare (less than 1 in 1000 people who take Mercilon are affected)
• Harmful blood clots in a vein or artery for example:
o in a leg or foot (i.e. DVT)
o in a lung (i.e. PE)
o heart attack
o stroke
o mini-stroke or temporary stroke-like symptoms, known as a
transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
o blood clots in the liver, stomach/intestine, kidneys or eye.
The chance of having a blood clot may be higher if you have any other
conditions that increase this risk. (See section 2 for more information
on the conditions that increase risk for blood clots and the symptoms
of a blood clot.)
• Severe allergic reaction to Mercilon
• Breast cancer
• Cancer of the cervix
• Severe liver problems
• High blood pressure
• Gall stones
• Chorea (a problem with the nervous system causing jerky
movements that you can’t control)
• Worsening of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; when your
immune system attacks your body causing, for example, joint ache
and tiredness)
• Stomach and intestine problems such as pancreatitis; Crohn’s
disease; ulcerative colitis
• Worsening of otosclerosis (a hearing problem)
• Problems with blood sugar
• Worsening of a rare condition called porphyria
• Worsening of skin problems, such as brown patches on your face
or body (chloasma) blister-like rash, (herpes gestationis)
Tell your doctor, pharmacist or family planning nurse if you are
worried about any side
effects which you think may be due to Mercilon. Also tell them if any
existing conditions get worse while you are taking Mercilon.

4.3 Bleeding between periods should not last long
A few women have a little unexpected bleeding or spotting while they
are taking Mercilon, especially during the first few months. Normally,
this bleeding is nothing to worry about and will stop after a day or two.
Keep taking Mercilon as usual; the problem should disappear after the
first few strips.
You may also have unexpected bleeding if you are not taking your
pills regularly, so try to take your pill at the same time every day. Also,
unexpected bleeding can sometimes be caused by other medicines.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you get breakthrough
bleeding or spotting that:
• carries on for more than the first few months
• starts after you’ve been taking Mercilon for a while
• carries on even after you’ve stopped taking Mercilon.

5 How to store Mercilon

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Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
Store Mercilon below 25°C but not in the fridge. Store it in the original
pack to protect it from light and moisture.
Do not use Mercilon after the expiry date shown on the packet. The
expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
Do not throw away any medicines down a drain or into a bin. Ask your
pharmacist what to do with any medicines you do not want. This will
help to protect the environment.

6 What is in Mercilon and who
makes it

What is in Mercilon
Each box of Mercilon contains three strips of 21 tablets.
Each strip of Mercilon contains 21 white tablets.
Each tablet is round, measures 6mm across, has TR4 marked on
one side and ORGANON * on the other side.
Each tablet contains: 150 micrograms of the progestogen desogestrel,
and 20 micrograms of the oestrogen ethinyl estradiol.
Mercilon also contains the inactive ingredients: dl-alpha-tocopherol,
potato starch, povidone, stearic acid, aerosol and lactose.
The company that holds the product licence for Mercilon is:
Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited,
Hertford Road,
Hoddesdon,
Hertfordshire, EN11 9BU, UK
Mercilon is made by:
N.V. Organon, P.O. Box 20, 5340 BH Oss,
The Netherlands., or
Organon (Ireland) Ltd., Drynam Road,
P.O. Box 2857, Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland
This leaflet was last updated in April 2014.
In correspondence please quote packing number.
To listen to or request a copy of this leaflet in Braille, large print or audio
please call, free of charge: 0800 198 5000 (UK Only)
Please be ready to give the following information:
Product name: Mercilon
Reference Number: PL 00025/0598
This is a service provided by the Royal National Institute of Blind people.

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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