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Dianette (Co-Cyprindiol)

Although Dianette can be used as a combined contraceptive pill, it is not generally prescribed for this purpose alone. One of the ingredients of Dianette is cyproterone acetate, which is an anti-androgen. Androgens are responsible for many normal functions of the body but if the female body produces too much of these hormones, it can result in acne and facial hair. These physical manifestations are common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Dianette is prescribed to help combat these physical symptoms. The other ingredient of Dianette is ethinylestradiol, a synthetic oestrogen. The combination of these two ingredients is known as Co-Cyprindiol.

Dianette is effective as a contraceptive so it has an additional therapeutic indication but it is not prescribed to women who would not benefit from its anti-androgen properties.

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When is Dianette suitable?

Dianette is appropriate for women who have severe acne or who have abnormal hair growth (hirsutism). Dianette would not normally be prescribed as the first line of treatment for acne; antibiotics would normally be attempted first. If the patient requires a contraceptive pill as well, Dianette fulfils this dual purpose.

How does Dianette work?

The cyproterone acetate works to inhibit the action of the androgens by blocking the receptors that the androgens normally work on. Skin should become less greasy within a few weeks and problems with acne and excess hair will take longer to abate.

As a contraceptive pill, it works similarly to all other combined pills in that the drug will make the body think that ovulation has occurred, thicken the mucus around the neck of the womb in order to make it difficult for sperm to get through to fertilise an egg and change the quality of the lining of the womb so that a fertilised egg would not be able to attach itself to the wall of the womb.

As explained above, Dianette should not be used solely for the purpose of contraception but rather it should be used for treating acne and hirsutism in females. It is recommended that 3 to 4 months after the skin or excess hair growth problems have cleared, Dianette should be discontinued. It may be necessary to go back on Dianette at a later date if the problem recurs.

Dianette can also be prescribed for women who have thinning hair on their scalp although this would normally only be considered after a consultation with a dermatologist.

How do I take Dianette?

The tablets are taken for a period of 21 days followed by a pill-free 7 days, during which normal menstrual bleeding should occur.

What should I do if I miss a pill?

If a pill is missed then that pill should be taken as soon as possible, while continuing to take the others as normal. Women will still be protected from pregnancy and do not require barrier contraception in this case. If you miss more than one pill then take the missed pill but use barrier contraception for the next seven days if you are having sex.

Side Effects of Dianette

As with all medications, Dianette has some side effects. Here are some of the recognised side effects:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Vaginal thrush
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Mood change
  • Gall stones

Not everyone will get side effects; in fact most people do not. If you do experience any side effects then you should let us know. A full list of side effects is available in your treatment area if you are approved for Dianette.

Dianette Warning!

Dianette is not appropriate for everyone, so it is essential that you answer our consultation questionnaire truthfully. We will prescribe Dianette based on the information that you provide.

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