Cilest is a contraceptive medication that has two active ingredients, synthetic hormones which interfere with the natural monthly cycle in the woman’s body in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Manufactured and marketed by Janssen pharmaceutical company, Cilest is easily once of the most popular and most commonly prescribed birth control pills in the UK. One pack of the medication contains three or six strips with 21 tablets or a whole monthly supply per strip. As most birth control pills, Cilest is marketed as effective in 99% of cases when used properly.

What’s on this page?

How safe and reliable is Cilest?

As mentioned, Cilest is advertised as 99% effective when used in the correct way. And this is not something that is hard to achieve. You just need to ensure that you don’t miss any pills and that you take them on the right days of your cycle. But, as one of the most sought-after and most commonly prescribed birth control medications in the UK, Cilest has another thing going for it – the positive experiences of countless women and the trust of medical professionals prescribing this medication.

Another thing that should be noted is that there are certain medications and remedies which might compromise the efficiency of Cilest, so you should be careful if the need arises to take them alongside this contraceptive pill. The substances in question are listed here:

  • Epilepsy medications
  • Bosentan
  • Antibiotics
  • HIV medications
  • Aprepitant
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Modafinil
  • Barbiturates
  • St John’s wort
  • Metoclopramide
  • Medical charcoal
  • Colesevalem
  • Ciclosporin
  • Slegiline
  • Tizanidine

How does Cilest work to prevent pregnancy?

In order for pregnancy to occur, the female body has to go through certain biochemical and physiological processes, most importantly ovulation, when the egg cell is released by the ovary and transported to the fallopian tubes where it can get fertilised by sperm. If the conception occurs, the fertilised egg will travel to the uterus via the fallopian tubes, where it will become attached to the uterine wall (called endometrium by the medical professional) and develop into embryo.

Cilest will interfere with the these processes, especially early in this chain of biological events, preventing ovulation from taking place and changing the conditions in the womb to make the implantation of the fertilised egg cell less likely. But how does it achieve that?

Cilest ingedients: How do they work?

As a combined birth control pill, Cilest contains two active ingredients, synthetic versions of sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, namely, ethinylestradiol and norgestimate, respectively. When naturally produced, these hormones play crucial roles in directing the monthly cycle and preparing the body for pregnancy. While progesterone is tasked with regulating the periodic releases of egg cells, oestrogen influences the conditions of the uterine wall.

Relying on synthetic versions of these hormones, Cilest will efficiently mimic their activity, tricking the body into “thinking” that the ovulation has already occurred and thus there is no need for ovaries to release yet another egg cell. As a consequence, the real ovulation won’t take place. At the same time, by mimicking the activity of oestrogen, this birth control pill will make it more difficult for a fertilised egg to attach to the uterine wall due to altered conditions alongside, but it will also contribute to the thickening of the vaginal fluid, making it more difficult for sperm to move around inside the womb.

Pros and cons of combined contraceptive pills?

Combined birth control pills such as Cilest are an increasingly popular choice and many women opt for it because of numerous benefits including the ease of use and high success rates (with proper administration). In addition to this, the detailed studies conducted seem to indicate that combined pills are somewhat more effective as compared to their main alternative, mini-pills (better known as progesterone-only pills).

However, it is also important to note that some women are more sensitive to oestrogen fluctuations that the others, so for them, combination birth control pills similar to Cilest might actually not be the best option due to a higher risk of experiencing side effects.

In either case, as all contraceptive pills in the UK are prescription medications, your doctor will advise you about the best option for you after gaining insight into your medical history and profile. If Cilest is not suitable, some other medication from a very rich birth control pills offer will be, with Cimizt being just one example.

Can I buy Cilest online in the UK?

Yes, it is possible to buy Cilest online in the UK. However, even with this route, you still have to keep in mind that birth control pills can be legally obtained only with a valid prescription issued by a certified medical professional. So, even if you opt for buying Cilest through an online clinic, you will still be asked to fill in a detailed medical questionnaire that the doctor employed at the clinic will use to determine your suitability for using this contraceptive medication. If everything is in order, the prescription will be issued and use to have the medication sent from the partner pharmacy to the address you provided. Alternatively, the doctor might recommend you some other more suitable option.

How to take Cilest?

Here we will provide you with some of the most general guidelines that you should keep in mind when taking Cilest to prevent unwanted pregnancy. However, it is very important to note that the text below is not a substitute for the official information or the doctor’s advice and is here just to serve as an illustration that should help you get a better idea of what taking Cilest looks like. Always keep in mind that the only guidelines that you should precisely follow are those that have been provided to you by your prescriber or those outlined in the official patient information leaflet that is issued with every pack of the medicine.

  • You will be taking one Cilest pill daily for 21 days in a row
  • Always take the pill at the same time each day
  • The designated days will be marked on the pack so you can use it as a guide and to keep track of your progress
  • Always take tablets whole with water, never chew or break them
  • After you complete 21 tablets course, don’t take Cilest for the following 7 days
  • On the 8th day, commence the new cycle of treatment (using new strip from the pack)
  • Make sure you are not pregnant before taking Cilest
  • If you miss a pill, refer to the instructions provided in the leaflet

What are Cilest side effects?

As is the case with all prescription medications, certain side effects are possible when using Cilest. It is highly advisable to get familiar with them prior to commencing treatment so you will be able to differentiate between those side effects which might be potentially dangerous and will require you to halt treatment and those which can be uncomfortable, but otherwise benign. However, it is still better to contact your doctor and ask for advice if you notice anything unusual than to wait for potential complications.

Some of the documented side effects include:

Frequency of occurrence Side effects
Very common (1 in 10 users or more) Headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, painful or irregular periods
Common (1 in 10 users or less) Excessive sweating, swelling of the hands, ankles or feet, migraines, insomnia, constipation, acne, skin rash, breast pain, urinary tract infections, thrush, vaginal discharge, weight gain, feelings of weakness, muscle pain
Uncommon (1 in 100 users) Dry eyes, sight problems, loss of libido, fluctuations in weight, hair loss, anxiety, numbness, itchiness, palpitations, flushing, vaginal dryness, ovarian cysts
Rare (1 in 1000 users) Increased heart rate, pancreatitis, increased perspiration, hypersensitivity

Please keep in mind that this is not a full list of all documented side effects. For a more comprehensive overview, please refer to the official patient information leaflet that you can find within your pack of Cilest.