Zelleta is an oral contraceptive pill in a category known as mini pills. These are pills that rely entirely on the active ingredient of progesterone, or at least a synthetic version of it called desogestrel. Synthetic activators of the progesterone receptor are called progestogens, and a progestogen-only contraceptive pill is enough to reliably prevent pregnancy, even if taken up to 12 hours after sex.
What makes the Zelleta contraceptive pill so valuable is that many other contraceptive pills (some of which are listed here) function through the inclusion of oestrogen, a sex hormone (technically a category of sex hormones) that not all women can safely ingest. Going without it affords greater flexibility and convenience. It’s completely safe to use a progestogen-only pill while breastfeeding, for instance.
Zelleta is manufactured by Morningside Healthcare and comes in packs of 84 tablets.
How does Zelleta work?
Zelleta’s active ingredient (75 micrograms of desogestrel) replicates the functionality of progesterone, a natural sex hormone that causes the thickening of cervical mucus. Thickened mucus prevents sperm from entering the uterus and prevents ovulation, stopping pregnancy from occurring in 99% of cases.
How long does Zeelleta take to work?
This depends on two things in particular: your position in your menstrual cycle when you start taking it, and whether you’re using Zelleta to replace another contraceptive. If you start using it during your period, for instance, you may need to use additional protection for a week while it takes effect. You’ll find more detail on this in the directions for use further down the page.
Is Zelleta the same pill as Cerezette?
Zelleta, Cerazette and Cerelle are all branded versions of the same progestogen-only pill sold generically as Desogestrel (see Desogestrel 75mcg tablets). Cerazette was the first branded desogestrel progestogen-only contraceptive pill, but more desogestrel progestogen-only pills sprang up after the patent expired, which is why there are now many similar products (such as Feanolla).