Dianette (also known as co-cyprindiol), is commonly used as a contraceptive tablet in women, Dianette is also used to treat skin conditions such as acne, very oily skin and excessive hair growth in women of reproductive age.

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What is Dianette?

Dianette, commonly known by the drug name co-cyprindiol, contains both an oestrogen and an anti-androgen.

Dianette is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as acne, very oily skin and excessive hair growth in women of reproductive age.

Dianette is also used as a contraceptive, and should only be prescribed for you if your doctor considers that treatment with a hormonal contraceptive is appropriate.

For the purpose of treating acne, you should only take Dianette if your skin condition has not improved after the use of other anti-acne treatments, including topical treatments and antibiotics.

You must not take any other hormonal contraceptive at the same time.


How does it work?

Treating acne:

Androgens are hormones that stimulate hair growth and the grease glands in your skin.

If you produce too much androgen, or if you are sensitive to the effect, the grease glands may produce too much oil (sebum) and get blocked. This can sometimes become infected and inflamed causing acne spots.

Dianette contains cyproterone, an anti-androgen that reduces the amount of androgen your body produces.


Dianette is a 21-day Pill – you take one each day for 21 days, followed by 7 days when you take no pills.

Dianette will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections, such as Chlamydia or HIV, and only condoms can help to do this.

How to use Dianette

Take Dianette every day for 21 days

Dianette comes in strips of 21 pills, each marked with a day of the week.

  • Take your pill at the same time every day.
  • Start by taking a pill marked with the correct day of the week.
  • Follow the direction of the arrows on the strip. Take one pill each day, until you have finished all 21 pills.
  • Swallow each pill whole, with water if necessary. Do not chew the pill.

Then have seven pill-free days

After you have taken all 21 pills in the strip, you have seven days when you take no pills. Within a few days of taking the last pill from the strip, you should have a withdrawal bleed like a period. This bleed may not have finished when it is time to start your next strip of pills.

What if I miss a dose?

A missed pill

If you are less than 12 hours late with a pill, take it straight away. Keep taking your pills at the usual time. This may mean taking two pills in one day but won’t reduce your contraceptive protection.

If you are more than 12 hours late with a pill, or you have missed more than one pill; your contraceptive protection may be reduced.

Please follow the guidance in the patient information leaflet under the section “missed pill”

If you have missed any of the pills in a strip, and you do not bleed in the first pill-free break, you may be pregnant.

Contact your doctor or do a pregnancy test yourself.

A lost pill

If you lose a pill,

Either take the last pill of the strip in place of the lost pill. Then take all the other pills on their proper days. Your cycle will be one day shorter than normal, but your contraceptive protection won’t be affected. After your seven pill-free days you will have a new starting day, one day earlier than before.

Or if you do not want to change the starting day of your cycle, take a pill from a spare strip if you have one. Then take all the other pills from your current strip as usual. You can then keep the opened spare strip in case you lose any more pills.

If you are sick or have diarrhoea

If you are sick (vomit) or have very bad diarrhoea, your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill.

Follow the instructions in the patient information leaflet on “A lost pill”.

Talk to your doctor if your stomach upset carries on or gets worse. He or she may recommend another form of contraception.

Side effects & precautions

Like all medicines, Dianette can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. If you get any side effect, particularly if severe and persistent due to Dianette, please talk to your doctor.

An increased risk of blood clots (thrombosis) is present for all women taking combined hormonal contraceptives.

Stop taking tablets and contact your doctor immediately if you notice possible signs of a blood clot.

The chances of blood clots in women are higher if they have the following risk factors:

  • Women over the age of 35, (the risks increase with age)
  • If you smoke. When using a hormonal contraceptive like Dianette you are strongly advised to stop smoking, especially if you are older than 35 years;
  • If one of your close relatives has had a blood clot in the leg, lung or another organ at a young age;
  • If you are overweight;
  • If you must have an operation, or if you are off your feet for a long time because of an injury or illness, or you have your leg in a plaster cast;
  • If you have polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • If you have recently had a baby;
  • If you have certain rare medical conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
  • If you have sickle cell disease.

It is important to notify the doctor when completing your health evaluation form if any of the risk factors mentioned applying to you.

Common side effects of Dianette include:

  • Feeling sick
  • Stomach ache
  • Putting on weight
  • Headaches
  • Depressive moods or mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts

Uncommon side effects include:

  • Being sick and stomach upsets
  • Fluid retention
  • Migraine
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Breast enlargement
  • Skin rash, which may be itchy

Bleeding between periods should not last long

A few women have a little unexpected bleeding or spotting while they are taking Dianette, especially during the first few months. Normally, this bleeding is nothing to worry about and will stop after a day or two. Keep taking Dianette as usual. The problem should disappear after the first few strips.

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