What is Dianette?
Dianette is a contraceptive pill that prevents pregnancy, although its primary use is to treat skin conditions such as acne, very oily skin and excessive hair growth in women of reproductive age.
How does Dianette work?
Dianette contains two types of female hormones, an oestrogen and an anti-androgen. While the oestrogen prevents an egg being released from your ovaries, the anti-androgen stops the hormones that stimulate hair growth and the grease glands in your skin.
What are the benefits of taking Dianette?
Using Dianette not only provides women with protection against unwanted pregnancies, but its main use is to also treat skin issues. Issues with the skin, such as acne and excessive hair growth can be sensitive for women and treating this gives them more confidence.
If you produce too much androgen, or if you are sensitive to the effect, the grease glands may produce too much sebum. This can block the grease glands, which can become infected and inflamed causing acne spots. Dianette stops the androgens affecting your skin and reduces the amount of androgens produced, leading to clearer skin.
How do I use Dianette?
Dianette 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 Dianette, you should take the first tablet on the first day of your next period to ensure you have protection from the first pill.
If you wish to start taking Dianette but are already on a different pill, then you should start your Dianette on the day after you finish your last pack of the previous pill.
For women who have just had a baby and wish to start Dianette, this should be 21 days after delivery (provided you are fully mobile). However, for the first 7 days worth of pills you will need additional contraception (such as condoms) to properly protect against pregnancy. If you have had a miscarriage or abortion then consult your doctor in regards to taking Dianette.
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 Dianette pack, you should still start it on the intended day.
Dianette tablets contain 2mg of cyproterone acetate and 35 micrograms of ethinylestradiol. 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 Dianette, 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 Dianette, you should always first consult your doctor. You should not take Dianette if any of the following apply to you:
- If you are using another hormonal contraceptive
- If you are pregnant or might be pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding
- If you have (or have ever had) breast cancer
- If you have (or have ever had) a blood clot
- If you have (or have ever had) a disease that may be an indicator of a heart attack
- If you have (or have ever had) a heart attack or stroke
- If you have a condition that may increase the risk of a blood clot in your arteries.
- If you have problems with blood clotting (e.g. protein C deficiency)
- If you have ever had a migraine, with visual disturbances
- If you have ever had a severe liver disease
- If you have ever had liver tumours
- If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients in Dianette.
Your prescription of Dianette may also be affected by a number of other factors, so you should make your doctor aware if any of the following apply:
- If you or your close family have ever had problems with your heart or circulation
- If you or your close family have ever had problems with blood clotting
- If you have had migraines
- If you are currently suffering from depression or have done so in the past
- If you are overweight (obese)
- If you have the inherited disease called porphyria
- If you have diabetes
- If you have inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), or a family history of high levels of fat in your blood
- If you have brown patches on your face or body (chloasma)
- If you have any illness that worsened during pregnancy or previous use of the Pill or Dianette
Like many medications with active ingredients, Dianette can affect or be affected by other medicines. Particular medications that you may experience this with include the following:
- treatment of epilepsy
- treatment of tuberculosis
- treatment of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus infections
- treatment of fungal infections
- treatment of arthritis, arthrosis
- treatment of high blood pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs
- the herbal remedy St. John’s wort
- medicines containing ciclosporin
- the anti-epileptic lamotrigine
- theophylline (used to treat breathing problems)
- tizanidine (used to treat muscle pain and/or muscle cramps).
If you are taking any of the above medications, then you should make your doctor aware so that they can advise whether or not Dianette 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 Dianette include:
- feeling sick
- stomach ache
- putting on weight
- depressive moods or mood swings
- sore or painful breasts
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.