If any of the conditions/risk factors mentioned as follows is present, the benefits of progestogen use should be weighed against the possible risks for each individual woman and discussed with the woman before she decides to start with Cerazette. In the event of aggravation, exacerbation or first appearance of any of these conditions, the woman should contact her physician. The physician should then decide on whether the use of Cerazette should be discontinued.
The risk for breast cancer increases in general with increasing age. During use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) the risk of having breast cancer diagnosed is slightly increased. This increased risk disappears gradually within 10 years after discontinuation of OC use and is not related to the duration of use, but to the age of the woman when using the COC. The expected number of cases diagnosed per 10 000 women who use combined COCs (up to 10 years after stopping) relative to never users over the same period has been calculated for the respective age groups and is presented in the table as follows. (See Table 1.)
Click on icon to see table/diagram/image
The risk in users of progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs), such as Cerazette, is possibly of similar magnitude as that associated with COCs. However, for POCs the evidence is less conclusive. Compared to the risk of getting breast cancer ever in life, the increased risk associated with COCs is low. The cases of breast cancer diagnosed in COC users tend to be less advanced than in those who have not used COCs. The increased risk in COC users may be due to an earlier diagnosis, biological effects of the pill or a combination of both.
Since a biological effect of progestogens on liver cancer cannot be excluded an individual benefit/risk assessment should be made in women with liver cancer.
When acute or chronic disturbances of liver function occur the woman should be referred to a specialist for examination and advice.
If a sustained hypertension develops during the use of Cerazette, or if a significant increase in blood pressure does not adequately respond to antihypertensive therapy, discontinuation with the use of Cerazette should be considered.
Epidemiological investigations have associated the use of combined OCs with an increased incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE, deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism). Although the clinical relevance of this finding for desogestrel used as a contraceptive in the absence of an estrogenic component is unknown, Cerazette should be discontinued in the event of a thrombosis. Discontinuation of Cerazette should also be considered in case of long-term immobilisation due to surgery or illness. Women with a history of thromboembolic disorders should be made aware of the possibility of a recurrence.
Although progestogens may have an effect on peripheral insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, there is no evidence for a need to alter the therapeutic regimen in diabetics using progestogen-only pills. However, diabetic patients should be carefully observed during the first months of use.
Treatment with Cerazette leads to decreased estradiol serum levels, to a level corresponding with the early follicular phase. It is as yet unknown whether the decrease has any clinically relevant effect on bone mineral density.
The protection with traditional progestogen-only pills against ectopic pregnancies is not as good as with combined oral contraceptives, which has been associated with the frequent occurrence of ovulations during the use of progestogen-only pills. Despite the fact that Cerazette consistently inhibits ovulation, ectopic pregnancy should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis if the woman gets amenorrhoea or abdominal pain.
Chloasma may occasionally occur, especially in women with a history of chloasma gravidarum. Women with a tendency to chloasma should avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation whilst taking Cerazette.
The following conditions have been reported both during pregnancy and during sex steroid use, but an association with the use of progestogens has not been established: jaundice and/or pruritus related to cholestasis; gallstone formation; porphyria; systemic lupus erythematosus; haemolytic uraemic syndrome; Sydenham's chorea; herpes gestationis; otosclerosis-related hearing loss; (hereditary) angioedema.
Cerazette contains less than 65 mg lactose and therefore should not be administered to patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
Before prescription, a thorough case history should be taken and a thorough gynaecological examination is recommended to exclude pregnancy. Bleeding disturbances, such as oligomenorrhoea and amenorrhoea should be investigated before prescription. The interval between check-ups depends on the circumstances in each individual case. If the prescribed product may conceivably influence latent or manifest disease, the control examinations should be timed accordingly. Despite the fact that Cerazette is taken regularly, bleeding disturbances may occur. If bleeding is very frequent and irregular, another contraceptive method should be considered. If the symptoms persist, an organic cause should be ruled out. Management of amenorrhoea during treatment depends on whether or not the tablets have been taken in accordance with the instructions and may include a pregnancy test. The treatment should be stopped if a pregnancy occurs.
Women should be advised that Cerazette does not protect against HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The efficacy of Cerazette may be reduced in the event of missed tablets (see Management of missed tablets under Dosage & Administration), gastro-intestinal disturbances (see Advice in case of gastrointestinal disturbances under Dosage & Administration), or concomitant medications that decrease the plasma concentration of etonogestrel, the active metabolite of desogestrel (see Interactions).
Changes in vaginal bleeding pattern:
During the use of a progestogen-only contraceptive, vaginal bleeding may become more frequent or of longer duration in some women, whereas in others bleeding may become incidental or be totally absent. These changes are often a reason for the woman to reject the method or to be non-compliant. Acceptance of bleeding pattern can be improved by offering women who have chosen to use Cerazette careful counselling on this point. Evaluation of vaginal bleeding should be done on an ad hoc basis and may include examination to exclude malignancy or pregnancy.
With all low-dose hormonal contraceptives, follicular development occurs and occasionally the follicle may continue to grow beyond the size it would attain in a normal cycle. Generally, these enlarged follicles disappear spontaneously. Often, they are asymptomatic; in some cases they are associated with mild abdominal pain. They rarely require surgical intervention.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines:
On the basis of the pharmacodynamic profile, Cerazette is expected to have no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.