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Gedarel
Gedarel tablets
Gedarel is a combined contraceptive pill used to prevent pregnancy that contains ethinylestradiol (oestrogen) and desogestrel (progesterone). It contains the same hormones as Marvelon.
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What is Gedarel?

Gedarel is a combined oral contraceptive pill. It contains synthetic versions of the female hormones oestrogen (ethinylestradiol) and progesterone (desogestrel).

It comes in two doses:

  • Gedarel 30/150 contains 30mcg of ethinylestradiol
  • Gedarel 20/150 is a lower dose option containing 20mcg of ethinylestradiol

Both versions work in the same way to protect you from pregnancy. The lower dose of synthetic oestrogen in Gedarel 20/150 may be more suitable for women who are susceptible to experiencing side effects on the combined contraceptive pill.

Don’t worry, if you’re not sure which dose is best for you, our team of experienced, friendly clinicians is here to help.

Find out more about our contraceptive pill service.

What is Gedarel used for?

Gedarel is used to help prevent pregnancy. It’s a hormonal contraceptive.

How does Gedarel work?

Gedarel 20/150 and Gedarel 30/150 both work in the same way. Each version of Gedarel is a combined contraceptive pill, containing synthetic versions of oestrogen and progesterone. By releasing and regulating these synthetic hormones, Gedarel protects you from pregnancy in three ways:

  • Stops you from ovulating (releasing eggs)
  • Thickens the fluid in the cervix, making it harder for sperm to reach any eggs
  • Thins the womb lining to prevent a fertilised egg implanting

As well as preventing pregnancy, Gedarel may also offer other benefits, such as: lighter and less painful periods, more regular periods, and fewer premenstrual symptoms (PMS).

How to take Gedarel

Gedarel is a combined contraceptive pill that comes in packs of 21 tablets. You should take one pill every day, at around the same time, for 21 days until you finish a pack. Then take a seven-day break. You may experience a withdrawal bleed (like a period) during this break. This is typically about 2-3 days after stopping. You’re still protected from pregnancy during this break, as long as you took the full pack correctly.

After the seven-day break, regardless of the timing of your withdrawal bleed, start your next pack of 21 pills. So if you finish a pack of Gedarel on a Friday, start the next pack the following Saturday.

If you’re wondering when to start taking Gedarel, you can begin at any time in your menstrual cycle. However, you should be protected from pregnancy immediately if you start during days 1-5 of your period. If you start the pill at any other time in your cycle, you’ll need to use condoms as well for the first seven days.

Gedarel dosage

Each film-coated tablet of Gedarel 20 contains 20 micrograms ethinylestradiol and 150 micrograms desogestrel.

Each film-coated tablet of Gedarel 30 contains 30 micrograms ethinylestradiol and 150 micrograms desogestrel.

Is Gedarel effective?

Less than 1% of women (less than 1 woman in 100) will become pregnant in their first year of using Gedarel when taken perfectly without missing any pills. However, typical failure rates are actually 5% in the first year. With each missed pill during your menstrual cycle, the chance of becoming pregnant increases.

If you forget to take your pill, or have a sickness with diarrhoea or vomiting, you’re at risk of pregnancy. What to do if you miss your pill.

Taking emergency contraception (the morning after pill) can also impact the effectiveness of Gedarel.

What are the main side effects of Gedarel?

Side effects can happen with any pill but these may vary in each person.

Common side effects when taking Gedarel include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or stomach ache
  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • Mood changes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding between periods

Side effects should only be temporary while your body adjusts to the contraceptive pill. If they last longer than three months, please let us know and we can discuss alternative options.

If you experience vaginal bleeding after sex or a significant change to your bleeding pattern that doesn’t settle within six weeks, please contact us or see your GP straight away.

Blood clots, heart attack and stroke are rare but serious side effects of taking Gedarel. Make sure you are regularly checking your blood pressure – it should stay under 140/90 – and aim to have a normal weight.

Let us know immediately if anything changes in your family or personal medical history while you’re taking Gedarel.

For more information on Gedarel’s side effects, please read the full Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your contraceptive pill.

What else should I know about Gedarel?

Contraceptive pills, such as Gedarel, should not be taken during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while you’re taking Gedarel, stop taking it straight away. Do not take Gedarel if you’re breastfeeding during the first 6 weeks after giving birth.

If you have certain medical conditions, are aged over 35 and smoke, or have a BMI above 35, we wouldn’t recommend Gedarel. It’s very important you give us your full medical history and information about any medicines – either prescription or over the counter – and supplements you’re taking. This ensures we can prescribe suitably and safely for you.

What are alternative oral contraceptive pills?

There are other combined oral contraceptive pills with different progesterone components or lower doses of oestrogen. If the combined pill isn’t right for you, we can also prescribe progesterone-only contraceptive pills

Find out more about contraceptive pills.

If you’d rather try a different contraceptive other than the pill, you could consider long acting forms of contraception (for e.g. implants, coils or injections). You should make an appointment with your GP or local family planning clinic to discuss these options.

What are the non-drug alternatives to Gedarel?

Condoms or other barrier contraception methods might be better suited for you. Speak to your GP or visit your local sexual health centre for more information. You can also buy condoms from Boots or your local pharmacy.

Can Gedarel delay my period?

You’re likely to experience a period, called a withdrawal bleed, during each seven-day break from Gedarel.

It’s possible to take three packs of Gedarel back-to-back without a break and then take a 4-day break. Doing this could result in some breakthrough bleeding, but it can be helpful if you have heavy or painful periods.

Gedarel: Important information

Contraceptive pills are only most effective when taken correctly. If you forget to take Gedarel or have a diarrhoea or vomiting illness, your pill won’t be able to protect you from pregnancy as effectively. If you take the morning after pill while you’re on Gedarel, this can also affect how it works.

More information on what to do if you miss a pill.

Gedarel only protects you from pregnancy, not from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you have more than one sexual partner, you should also use barrier contraception (condoms) and have regular STI screenings. Get easy test-at-home STI kits and advice from us here.

Can I buy Gedarel online?

Yes, you can buy Gedarel online but, as with all contraceptive pills, you’ll need a prescription.

At Boots Online Doctor, one of our experienced clinicians can prescribe Gedarel if suitable for you. You won’t need to wait for an appointment or talk to anyone, simply fill out our simple online questionnaire and get the contraceptive pill you need.

Pick up your Gedarel order at your local Boots pharmacy or have it delivered directly to your door in discreet packaging in as little as two days, whatever you prefer.

Get started now.

When to stop taking Gedarel

Don’t want to take Gedarel any more? That’s OK, you can stop taking it at any time. Just remember, you’ll no longer be protected from pregnancy from the day you stop taking it so make sure you use another method of contraception straight away.

If you want to stop taking Gedarel because of ongoing side effects, please contact us and we can discuss alternative contraceptive pills that may be more suitable.

More information on contraceptive pill options.

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