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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Cilest to be discontinued

The manufacturer of Cilest® (norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol) has written to healthcare professionals advising that this product will be discontinued with effect from July 2019.

The letter states that this was a commercial decision to exit the oral hormonal contraceptive market and it is stressed that the are no safety, efficacy or quality issues with the product. Current supplies are expected to last until mid-July 2019.

There are two alternative products that are currently available in the UK with the same active ingredients - Cilique® and Lizinna®.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of this product being discontinued. It would be prudent to run clinical system searches to identify any patients who are currently prescribed this product to allow a review and arrangements made to identify a suitable alternative.

Both Cilique and Lizinna (and other OCP brands) are available privately from UK regulated online clinics such as Dr Fox Pharmacy.
This product or service is not endorsed by Prescriber.org.uk

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21 Comments to “Cilest to be discontinued”

  1. Hi there. I swapped from cilest to cilique about 10 months ago. I experienced spotting once 10 months ago which resolved. However the last 2 months I have had spotting for 1 day mid cycle. Could this be possible from the switch to cilique? Any help would be appreciated.

    Comment by Meadhbh — June 28, 2021 #

    1. @Meadhbh,

      I'm not sure I'd link your recent mid-cycle spotting to a change in manufacturer of your medication 10 months ago. It may be linked to the tablets, changes in your cycle or hormone levels, or possibly other changes in you, like weight gain / loss, dietary changes etc. It is worth reporting this to your doctor or practice nurse though and see what they advise.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — June 28, 2021 #

  2. Has anyone noticed any itching since taking cilique? I was on cilest for 20 years with no problems and can only think that this has changed? Possibly different amounts of oestrogen? (Dr. Google here) It's driving me demented. 🙁

    Comment by Kris — March 24, 2021 #

    1. @Kris,

      "Skin problems such as redness and itchiness" is listed in the side effect section of the Cilique® Information Leaflet and happens Uncommonly - so affecting between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 100 people who take the tablet. As Cilique has the same amounts and the same active ingredients that Cilest did so I very much doubt it is down do differing levels of the hormone ingredients. Do you find the itching improves in the 7 day pill free break? If so then it probably is the side effect and it is worth considering the alternatives with your doctor or nurse.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — March 24, 2021 #

  3. It appears we are all experiencing the exact same issues and no health advisor can actually figure out why it is cilque causes side effects that Cilest did not have!
    Ultimately they are not identical in ingredients otherwise we would not be getting side effects!
    I'd really like to know why Cilest (if it's not a health related issue) did not think about selling their pill to another competitor?
    Surely it would have been beneficial for them to do so?

    Comment by A — December 10, 2020 #

  4. I am unhappy with Lizinna as one pill taken 2 hours late and automatically the next day I get spotting. Cilest never did this. And I won't be surprised if Lizinna raised my blood pressure!

    Comment by Joanna — December 2, 2020 #

  5. Hello I also swapped from cilest to cilique last month. The first month was fine but this month I started spotting the last day of my active pill. Is this normal?

    Comment by MOH — August 5, 2020 #

    1. @MOH,

      It is not unexpected, and will hopefully settle.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — August 5, 2020 #

  6. I found this site while Googling on whether anyone else had found differences after switching from Cilest to Cilique. I took Cilest for over 10yrs, although the Cilique pill is 'the same', I am 2 months into Cilique and I am spotting and also have many spot breakouts. This is extremely frustrating since I usually don't deal with any side effects. I loved Cilest. I also feel quite down but that is hard to judge as a side effect due to the current climate.

    Comment by SJ — July 6, 2020 #

  7. Funny thing is it's 2020 and I'm still on that pill 😂

    Comment by Chloé — January 27, 2020 #

    1. @Chloé,

      Cilest is definitely discontinued, last batches supplied by the manufacturer expire around September 2020 so it's not that unusual.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — January 28, 2020 #

  8. Are the alternatives the same composition (carrier ingredients as well as active ingredients)? I have used cilest for 25 years and am very concerned about potential side effects of other brands.

    Comment by Emma Howes — December 18, 2019 #

    1. @Emma Howes,

      The full ingredient list for Cilique and Lizinna are different although the active ingredients are that same of course. As far as I can tell the Cilique is identical in content to Cilest.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — December 19, 2019 #

    2. I have used Cilest for years. I have had 3 months on Cilique and I can honestly say I'm going mental. I know it's different for everyone. But I'm not the same person I was 3 months ago. I have no patience, I'm snappy, emotional. I have put on weight. I have stopped taking it and I'm gutted that Cilest has been discontinued.

      Comment by Emily — January 29, 2020 #

      1. @Emily,

        As far as I can tell the ingredient list for Cilest and Cilique is identical so that's really unusual and must be frustrating for you. But, if it isn't suiting you it's better to stop and see your doctor or practice nurse for something different.

        Comment by Matthew Robinson — January 30, 2020 #

      2. I have exactly the same experience plus I'm also experiencing spotting that I've never had before. I was on cilest for 20 years with no issues.

        Comment by Jane — April 4, 2020 #

        1. Me to!
          I’ve been on Cilest for 20 years, now I’m on Liziana, and been spotting. Told that only happens if you change pill. But was also told those pills are exactly the same?

          Comment by Siobhan — May 2, 2020 #

          1. @Siobhan,

            They have the same active ingredients but as far as I could tell the other ingredients in the tablet are different and in some that may be enough to make a difference and cause spotting. Hopefully it will settle but if not speak to someone at your surgery.

            Comment by Matthew Robinson — May 2, 2020 #

  9. Can I ask that it does not get discontinued. My last pack went missing out of my top drawer and me and my family have used it for years - really annoying. I do not want another version of it - I want that re-prescribed to me.


    Comment by Crystal Astrid Palmer Tompkinson — May 14, 2019 #

    1. @Crystal,

      I'm not the manufacturer and have no control over this product.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — May 14, 2019 #

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