How brand names work

If you’re taking a contraceptive pill, you might be prescribed what looks like a new pill with a different brand name. However, just because the brand name is different, it doesn’t mean the contraceptive pills inside are different. Pills under different brand names, can contain the same hormones and the same dose of hormones. They have simply been produced by a different manufacturer and given a different brand name.

If you are given a contraceptive pill which is different from what you are used to using, you can check the Pill Brands Chart below to check it contains the same hormones you have previously been taking.

Understanding hormones

Combined oral contraceptive (COC) pills contain oestrogen and progestogen while progestogen only pills (POP) as suggested in the name only contain progestogen.

The most common type of oestrogen is called ethinylestradiol. The majority of COC pills contain this type of oestrogen in varying doses from 20 micrograms up to 35 micrograms. Meanwhile, there are 7 common types of progesterone called desogestrel, gestodene, norethisterone, norethisterone acetate, drospirenone, norgestimat and levonorgestrel. These come in varying doses depending on the type of pill you are taking.

We don’t expect you to remember these complicated hormone names but it helps to know what hormones are in the pills you are taking so if the brand of your pill changes, you can still be reassured you are taking the same hormone.

Microgynon 30 is the most commonly prescribed COC pill brand and it contains 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol and 150 micrograms of levonorgestrel. However Levest, Ovranette and Rigevidon also contain the same hormones and the same doses. This means that if you are taking Microgynon30 and you are changed to the pill Levest, you are still taking the same hormones but just using a different brand.

While we know it can be confusing the best place to help you remember is your pill box. If you look at the Levest pill box you can see the drug and the dose on the front of the box.

Pill comparison table

Here’s a list to help you check and compare what’s in the different brands of the most common pills in the UK.

Brand name Oestrogen: name and dose Progestorone: name and dose
Mercilon
Gedarel 20/150
Ethinylestradiol 20mgs Desogestrel 150mgs
Femodette
Millinette 20/75
Sunya 20/75
Ethinylestradiol 20mgs Desogestrel 150mgs
Loestrin 20 Ethinylestradiol 20mgs Norethisterone Acetate 1mg
Gedarel 30/150
Marvelon
Cimizt
Ethinylestradiol 30mgs Desogestrel 150mgs
Yasmin
Lucette
Ethinylestradiol 30mgs Drospirenone 3mgs
Femodene
Katya 30/75
Millinette 30/75
Ethinylestradiol 30mgs Gestodene 75mgs
Levest
Microgynon 30/75
Ovranette
Rigevidon
Microgynon ED Tablets
Ethinylestradiol 30mgs Levonorgestrel 150mgs
Loestrin 30 Ethinylestradiol 30mgs Norethisterone Acetate 1.5mgs
Cilest
Lizinna
Ethinylestradiol 35mgs Norgestimate 250mgs
Brevinor
Ovysmen
Ethinylestradiol 35mgs Norethisterone 500mgs
Norimin Ethinylestradiol 35mgs Norethisterone 1mg
Norimin 1 Mestranol 50mgs Norethisterone 1mg
Cerazette
Cerelle
Zelleta
(no oestrogen – progesterone only pill) Desogestrel 75mgs
Micronor
Noriday
(no oestrogen – progesterone only pill) Norethisterone 350mgs
Norgeston (no oestrogen – progesterone only pill) Levonorgestrel 30mgs
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