Gestodene and Ethinylestradiol Tablets
Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about Minulet. It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking Minulet against the benefits this medicine is expected to have for you.
If you have any questions about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine.
You may need to read it again.
What Minulet is used for
Minulet is an oral contraceptive. Minulet tablets contain two hormones (gestodene and ethinylestradiol), which prevent you from becoming pregnant if taken correctly. They are similar to the hormones that your body normally produces.
Minulet prevents pregnancy in several ways:
It inhibits the egg release by stopping it maturing
It changes the cervical mucus consistency making it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg
It changes the lining of the uterus making it less suitable for implantation.
Your doctor may have prescribed Minulet for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Minulet has been prescribed for you.
Minulet is not habit-forming.
This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.
Before you take Minulet
When you must not take Minulet
Do not take Minulet if you have an allergy to:
Any medicine containing ethinylestradiol or gestodene
Any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet
Any other similar medicines (such as other oral contraceptives).
Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
Shortness of breath
Wheezing or difficulty breathing
Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
Rash, itching or hives on the skin.
Do not take Minulet if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) and are on medicines called anticoagulants which are used to "thin the blood"
Blood clots or a history of blood clots in the:
Legs (thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis (DVT))
Lungs (pulmonary embolism)
Hereditary or an acquired disposition for venous thromboembolism
Multiple risk factors VTE including obesity, age above 35 years, smoking, high cholesterol
Major surgery and have been confined to bed for long periods of time
Arterial thromboembolism (ATE) or a past history of these that include:
Transient ischaemic attack or "mini stroke".
Hereditary or an acquired disposition for ATE
History of migraine, accompanied by blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, muscle weakness, or increased sensitivity to light, sound, or noise
Multiple risk factors for ATE or a serious risk factor for ATE that include:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure
Diabetes with blood vessel damage
Severe lipid disease
Sickle cell anaemia.
Disease in any blood vessel(s)
Inflammation of the pancreas, which is associated with very high blood levels of triglycerides (fatty substances)
Breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the womb, cervix or vagina, or you think you have these conditions
Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Liver tumour or liver disease
Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of an oral contraceptive
Severe skin itchiness during pregnancy
A history of herpes in pregnancy
A history of a hearing problem known as otosclerosis, which is worse during pregnancy.
If you are not certain whether these may apply to you, or you are worried by anything in this list, tell your doctor.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or you think you are pregnant.
Pregnancy must be excluded before you start taking Minulet.
Minulet is not for use in children or in postmenopausal women.
Do not take this medicine if you are taking anti-viral hepatitis C virus (HCV) medicinal products containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir with or without ribavirin.
If you are not sure about your anti-HCV medication, tell your doctor.
Do not take this medicine if the expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed.
Minulet may have no effect at all, or worse, an entirely unexpected effect, if you take it after the expiry date.
Do not take this medicine if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.
If this is the case, take the tablets back to your pharmacist.
Before you start to take Minulet
You must have a thorough medical check-up, including a Pap smear, breast check, blood pressure check and urine test.
You must tell your doctor if you or anyone in your immediate family has, or has had blood clots in the legs or lungs.
Blood clots are a rare occurrence when taking an oral contraceptive.
The risk of a blood clot is highest during the first year of taking an oral contraceptive for the first time or if you are re-starting the "pill" after a break of 4 weeks or more.
The risk of having a blood clot is higher in oral contraceptive users than in non-users, but is not as high as during pregnancy.
Tell your doctor about any of the following conditions as these are risk factors for developing blood clots:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) - a disorder of blood coagulation causing failure of the kidneys)
Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (chronic inflammatory bowel disease)
Sickle cell disease
Smoking particularly if you are heavy smoker (15 or more cigarettes per day) and are aged over 35 years
Have had any recent surgery or trauma
Recently had a baby
Lost a baby in the second trimester
Had major surgery and have been confined to bed for long periods of time
Also tell your doctor if you are planning a long haul plane flight (greater than 4 hours).
You must tell your doctor if you or anyone in your immediate family has, or has had a stroke or heart attack.
Taking oral contraceptives is linked with an increased risk of having a heart attack, angina, stroke or a "mini stroke".
Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
Heart disease including heart valve disorders or certain heart rhythm disorders
High blood pressure, a history of high blood pressure or high blood pressure during pregnancy
Migraine or other headaches
Tell your doctor if over 35 years of age or are overweight.
If you are not certain whether any of the above may apply to you, check with your doctor.
Tell your doctor if you have any other health problems, especially:
Breast lumps, abnormal breast X-ray or mammogram
Fluid retention or kidney disease
Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous oral contraceptive use
If you have any of these conditions you should have regular check-ups with your doctor to make sure that taking Minulet is not making the conditions worse.
Tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant or you think you are pregnant.
Like most medicines, Minulet is not recommended during pregnancy.
Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
Like most medicines, Minulet is not recommended while you are breast-feeding. Small amounts of oral contraceptives have been found in breast milk. It is not known what effect this may have on the baby. A decrease in milk supply may also occur.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking Minulet.
Minulet contains lactose.
If you know that you are intolerant to some sugars, or your doctor has told you so, speak to your doctor before taking it.
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any foods, dyes, preservatives or any other medicines
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including medicines you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines may stop Minulet from working properly. These include medicines such as:
Rifampicin and rifabutin for the treatment of tuberculosis
Antibiotics such as ampicillin, other penicillins and tetracyclines
Anti-fungal agents such as griseofulvin
Medicines for epilepsy (such as phenytoin, primidone, carbamazepine and topiramate)
Ritonavir for the treatment of HIV infection
Modafinil used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness
St. John's wort, an ingredient in many medicines you can buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, health food shop or supermarket
Corticosteroids such as dexamethasone.
While you are taking any of these medicines and for the next 7 days after stopping them, you must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm, but not the rhythm or temperature methods). If you come to the end of the white tablets during these 7 days, start the next pack straight away. Skip the 7 red tablets.
If you take rifampicin and some other medicines, you may need to use additional non-hormonal contraception for four weeks after finishing the course of treatment.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how long you need to use additional non-hormonal contraception.
Some medicines may increase the levels of Minulet in your blood, which may lead to unwanted side effects. These medicines include:
Atorvastatin used to treat high cholesterol
Indinavir for the treatment of HIV infection
Anti-fungal agents such as itraconazole and fluconazole
Paracetamol and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Minulet may also affect how well some other medicines work. These medicines include:
Anti-viral hepatitis C virus (HCV) medicines such as ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir and dasabuvir
Cyclosporin used to prevent organ rejection
Theophyllines used for asthma and other breathing difficulties
Lamotrigine used for seizures.
If you have not told your doctor or pharmacist about any of the above, tell them before you start taking Minulet.
If you are scheduled for any laboratory tests, tell your doctor you are taking Minulet.
Some blood tests may be affected by taking Minulet.
How to take Minulet
Follow the directions on the blister pack.
If your doctor has prescribed Minulet for some other purpose than contraception, follow their directions closely, even if they are not the same as on the pack.
When to take Minulet
You must take Minulet every day, even if you do not have sex very often.
Minulet will work best if you do not miss any tablets and take it at the same time each day. Taking your tablet at the same time each day will also help you remember when to take the tablets.
It does not matter if you take Minulet before or after food.
If you are concerned about this, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
How to take Minulet
Swallow Minulet with a glass of water.
Starting a hormonal contraceptive for the first time
To start taking Minulet follow these steps:
1. On the first day of your menstrual bleed, take a white tablet that matches the day of the week from the purple shaded section of the blister pack.
2. Then take one white tablet each day, following the arrows so that you are taking the correct tablet for the day of the week until all 21 white tablets have gone.
3. Then take one red tablet each day for the next 7 days.
4. You will have a 'withdrawal' bleed, similar to having a period, during the week of red tablets.
Minulet is effective from the first day of use if begun as instructed. Your first cycle is likely to be shorter than usual, approximately 23 to 24 days long. Thereafter, your cycles should be about 28 days long.
If you do not bleed and there is any chance that you have not followed all the instructions in this leaflet, contact your doctor to check if you are pregnant.
Going on to further blister packs
1. On the day after your last red tablet, begin the next pack with a white tablet from the purple shaded section of the blister pack that matches the day of the week. Do this even if you are still bleeding.
2. Each new pack is started with a white tablet on the same day as the first pack, so that you have 21 days on white tablets, then 7 days on red tablets. There is no break between packs.
3. If you start the new pack later than the day after your last red tablet, you may have started a normal fertile cycle.
If you start late, you must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm, but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break.
Switching from a different combined oral contraceptive
Follow these steps if your current oral contraceptive contains an oestrogen and a progestogen:
1. Stop taking your current oral contraceptive after you have taken the last tablet in the pack.
2. If your current oral contraceptive is a 28 day pack, start Minulet the next day by taking take the first white tablet from the purple shaded section that matches the day of the week. If your current oral contraceptive is a 21 day pack, wait 7 days from when the last tablet was taken. On the 8th day, start Minulet by taking take the first white tablet from the purple shaded section that matches the day of the week.
You must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm, but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break.
3. Then take one white tablet each day following the direction of the arrows until all 21 white tablets have gone.
4. Then take one red tablet each day for the next 7 days.
5. You will have a 'withdrawal' bleed, similar to having a period, during the week of red tablets.
If you do not bleed and there is any chance that you have not followed all the advice in this leaflet, contact your doctor to check if you are pregnant.
Switching from a progestogen-only contraceptive
You can stop taking a progestogen-only contraceptive tablet any day and start taking Minulet the next day, at the same time.
If you have been using a progestogen-only implant, start taking Minulet on the day the implant is removed.
If you have been using a progestogen-only injection, start taking Minulet on the day the next injection would be due.
In all cases start Minulet by taking a white tablet from the purple shaded section that matches the day of the week.
You must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm, but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break.
After having a baby
If you have just had a baby, talk to your doctor before you start taking Minulet.
After a miscarriage or abortion
Your doctor will advise you how to take Minulet after a miscarriage or abortion.
How long to take Minulet
Your doctor may prescribe Minulet for long periods, until you no longer need or want contraception.
If you are not sure how long you should be taking Minulet, ask your doctor.
If you forget to take your tablets
If you forget to take Minulet every day it may not work as well in protecting you from becoming pregnant.
Do not try to make up for missed doses by taking more than one tablet at a time.
FORGETTING ONE WHITE TABLET
1. If you forget one white tablet but it is less than 12 hours late, take the missed tablet immediately. Take the next tablet at your usual time, even if this means taking two tablets in one day.
If you do not take the missed tablet within 12 hours, Minulet may not work as well in protecting you from becoming pregnant.
2. If one white tablet is missed and is more than 12 hours late, skip the missed white tablet and take the next white tablet at the usual time.
Continue to take tablets at your usual time but you must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break. If you come to the end of the white tablets during the 7 days after a missed tablet, start the next pack straight away. Skip the 7 red tablets.
FORGETTING MORE THAN ONE WHITE TABLET
Contact your doctor for advice on what to do.
FORGETTING A RED TABLET
1. If you miss one or more red tablets, leave them in the pack and do not worry.
2. However, if you miss red tablets and then forget to start the next pack on time, start as soon as you remember by taking a white tablet that matches the day of the week from the purple shaded section. You must also use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are having trouble remembering to take Minulet, ask your pharmacist for some hints.
If you vomit or have diarrhoea after taking Minulet
If you have vomiting or diarrhoea within 4 hours of taking a white tablet, you must use an additional non-hormonal method of contraception (such as condoms or a diaphragm, but not the rhythm or temperature methods) until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 days without a break. If you come to the end of the white tablets during these 7 days, start the next pack straight away. Skip the 7 red tablets.
The tablet may not have time to be absorbed properly and may not protect you from becoming pregnant.
If you have vomiting or diarrhoea after taking a red tablet, do not worry.
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you think you or anyone else may have taken too much Minulet. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.
If you take too much Minulet, some of the symptoms you may have include:
Feeling sick or vomiting
Feeling sleepy or tired.
Women may also experience menstrual bleeding.
While you are taking Minulet
Things you must do
Tell all doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking Minulet.
If you are about to start taking any new medicines, tell the doctor or pharmacist that you are taking Minulet.
If you become pregnant while taking Minulet, see your doctor immediately.
If you miss a period and you have taken your tablets correctly, continue taking your tablets as you would normally.
Sometimes you might not have a menstrual period while taking Minulet.
If you miss a period and you have not taken your tablets correctly, keep taking your tablets and see your doctor immediately.
Not taking your tablets correctly includes missing one or more tablets or starting a new pack later than you should have.
If you miss two menstrual periods, stop taking your tablets and see your doctor, even if you have taken the tablets correctly. You must use a non-hormonal method of contraception, (such as condoms or a diaphragm) during this time.
Your doctor should make sure you are not pregnant before you start taking Minulet again.
Have regular check-ups from your doctor, including a Pap smear.
Oral contraceptives should not be prescribed for longer than one year without your doctor carrying out a check-up. Your doctor will advise you how often you need a Pap smear. A Pap smear can detect abnormal cells lining the cervix. Sometimes abnormal cells can progress to cervical cancer. The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. However, cervical cancer has been reported to occur more often in women using an oral contraceptive for a long time. This finding may not be caused by the oral contraceptive, but may be related to sexual behaviour and other reasons.
Perform regular breast self-examination.
Risk factors for the development of breast cancer include increasing age, family history, obesity, never having had a baby, and late age for first full-term pregnancy. Breast cancer has also been found slightly more often in women who use oral contraceptives than in women of the same age who do not use them. This slight increase in the number of breast cancer cases gradually disappears during the course of the 10 years after stopping use of oral contraceptives. It is not known whether the oral contraceptive causes the difference. It may be that the women were examined more often, so that the breast cancer was noticed earlier.
If you are concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), ask your partner to wear a condom when having sexual intercourse with you.
Minulet will not protect you from HIV-AIDS or any other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, human papilloma virus and syphilis. To help protect yourself from STDs, you need to use a barrier contraceptive such as a condom.
Tell your doctor you are using Minulet at least 4 weeks before any planned hospitalisation or surgery.
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking Minulet several weeks before surgery or at the time of immobilisation. Your doctor will tell you when you can start taking Minulet after you are back on your feet.
To avoid pregnancy during this time you must use a non-hormonal method of contraception such as condoms or a diaphragm.
Things you must not do
Do not give Minulet to anyone else even if they have the same condition as you.
Do not use Minulet to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not stop taking Minulet, or change the dosage, without checking with your doctor.
If you stop taking Minulet or do not take a tablet every day, without using another form of contraception, you may become pregnant.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while taking Minulet.
When used correctly, Minulet is an effective contraceptive, but may have unwanted side effects in some people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you have.
Tell your doctor if...
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
Reproductive or breast problems such as:
Changes in bleeding patterns, including breakthrough bleeding/spotting
Missed periods, but if you have not taken Minulet as directed you should check whether you are pregnant
Changes in mucus from the vagina
Changes in the cervix
Vaginal thrush (candida)
Breast pain, tenderness, enlargement, possible milk secretion
Changes in sex drive.
Stomach problems such as:
Nausea or vomiting
Abdominal pain, cramps or bloating.
Difficulties thinking or working because of:
Mood changes, including depression
Headache, including migraines
Contact lenses becoming uncomfortable to wear.
Changes to your appearance such as:
Weight change (increase or decrease) or changes in appetite
Swelling of the hands, ankles or feet
Darkening of the skin, which may persist after stopping your medicine
Loss of scalp hair
Increase in body hair.
The above list includes the more common side effects of your medicine.
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if...
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any worsening of conditions that you may already have such as:
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Go to hospital if...
Tell your doctor immediately, or go to accident and emergency at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following:
Unexplained or persistent pains in the head, chest, arm or below the breastbone
Severe pain, swelling or discolouration in either of your legs
Shortness of breath
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Blurred or double vision
Partial or complete loss of sight
Eye protrusion, swelling of the eye or eye lesions
Dizziness or fainting, sometimes with loss of balance
Sweating, nausea or vomiting
An unusual cough
Weakness or numbness in any part of your body
Discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat or stomach
Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Feeling of indigestion or choking
Lose your appetite or lose weight
Jaundice or a yellowing of the skin or eyeballs, often with fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark coloured urine or light coloured bowel movements. Taking oral contraceptives has been associated with an increased risk of having a benign liver tumour and, in very rare cases, liver cancer. The risk appears to increase the longer oral contraceptives are taken
Migraine headaches for the first time
More frequent migraines if you already suffer from them
You are an epileptic and your fits become more frequent
Rise in blood pressure. You may experience headache, blurred vision or palpitations. Sometimes your blood pressure may rise without you experiencing any of these symptoms. It is important to keep your routine doctor's appointments so that your blood pressure can be checked
Swelling around eyes or mouth.
Whilst these side effects are rare, they are serious. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell, even if it is not on this list.
After stopping Minulet
If your periods do not return within 2 to 3 months of stopping Minulet tell your doctor.
Some women have short-term problems getting pregnant after stopping Minulet, especially if they had irregular menstrual cycles before starting to use an oral contraceptive.
If you are planning to become pregnant after stopping Minulet, use a non-hormonal method of contraception such as condoms or a diaphragm for 3 months before trying to get pregnant.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about taking folate if you plan to become pregnant.
After taking Minulet
Keep your tablets in the blister pack until it is time to take them.
If you take the tablets out of the blister pack they may not keep well.
Keep Minulet in a cool, dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C and is away from light.
Do not store Minulet or any other medicine, in a bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave Minulet in the car on hot days or on window sills.
Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep Minulet where children cannot reach it.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking Minulet, or the tablets have passed their expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any left over.
What it looks like
Minulet comes in a 12 week box containing 3 blister packs. Each blister pack contains 21 white hormone tablets and 7 red non-hormonal tablets. The blister pack is marked with days of the week next to each tablet.
Each white tablet contains 75 micrograms of gestodene and 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol as the active ingredients.
Red tablets do not contain active ingredients.
The white tablets contain the following inactive ingredients:
Sodium calcium edetate
The red tablets contain:
Brilliant scarlet 4R CI 16255
Erythrosine CI 45430.
Minulet does not contain gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.