I was 15 when I first started taking Cerazette. It was a countermeasure to having periods because I was anorexic at the time and my other 21-day pill was forcing me to have periods when I couldn’t really afford to, given my physical state. So my doctor prescribed me Cerazette in the hope that it would naturally stop me having periods via hormones.
Cerazette was quite honestly the best thing that ever happened to me. It stopped my periods and, even after I had recovered from anorexia and returned to a healthy weight, I never got them. Every three years I’d get what can only be described as a ‘mini-period’, which wasn’t a big deal at all. I’d just bleed a couple of tablespoons a day for around 3-4 days and it’d be over.
Despite this, I was looking into a hysterectomy as a long-term solution to not wanting periods or children. Although the pill is effective, there is always that risk and what’s the point of taking the risk when you know you don’t ever want children? I won’t go into the reasons why I don’t want kids here, but I have written about it before and will probably write about it at a later date.
All was going swimmingly well with Cerazette, until I went to fill my prescription and was told that Cerazette had been rebranded as Cerelle. I didn’t think anything of it and took my new prescription home.
Over the course of the following months, hell ensued. Cerelle was not a rebranding of Cerazette. As I said earlier, I started Cerazette when I was a teenager. I had no adverse effects to it. If anything, you’d expect that you would whilst you’re still going through puberty. But no, none of that happened when I was 15. It was happening when I was 22. Cerelle caused me to break out in what can only be described as acne for the first time in my life. I have always had flawless skin, perhaps the odd spot here and there when I get stressed. Now, at 22, my whole chin, nose and part of my cheeks were breaking out in spots every day. I couldn’t stop them. It was making me even more depressed and I was having to wear make up everyday to cover everything up. When the spots eventually did heal, they were discolouring and scarring my skin. Nothing had changed in my diet or skin routine. The only thing that had changed was my pill.
The side effects of Cerelle were horrendous. Not only did I have acne, but my skin was dull and sallow. I was also bleeding randomly and it was much heavier than the ‘mini-period’ that I was used to having every few years. The cramps were the worst. Working in media, I found that these side effects were knocking my confidence. I wanted to look my best at all times and my skin was going through breakout after breakout. I was just so ashamed of my skin and, as someone who had an eating disorder and still suffered from bouts of BDD, I knew this could become a slippery slope.
I went to my local GP and asked if I could be put back on Cerazette instead of Cerelle, because despite what I was told, they clearly aren’t the same thing. The nurse didn’t even need me to say anymore; I was previously going to tell her what effect it was having on my confidence, but showing her my blotchy chin sans cosmetics was enough. Whilst changing my prescription on the computer, she commented, ‘I don’t know why but so many people keep coming to me, saying that the Cerelle is giving them bad side effects that they never had on Cerazette’. After mere minutes, I was out of there with a prescription for my beloved Cerazette.
Finding Cerazette was another thing entirely. I had to go home and ring around several local pharmacies before finding one that kept Cerazette. When I went to pick it up from the pharmacy, the guy serving me told me that in a bid to try and force people to switch to Cerelle, a lot of pharmacies aren’t stocking it and typically in one area, only a couple will. He did advise that by law, they had to stock it because as long as it was still being prescribed, they couldn’t offer me an alternative and had to honour my Cerazette prescription. I left, armed with extra knowledge and my perfect pill.
Cerelle is actually cheaper for the NHS, which is why they’ve been told to force people on Cerazette to take it. It is not a rebranding. Although they contain the same compounds, there must be something that is done differently in the manufacturing of it because it really is not the same tablet at all. I mean, it can’t be. How can someone be perfectly fine on Cerazette during their most troublesome and unsettled years and then, when switched to something supposedly the ‘same’, have such a terrible reaction?
I’ve been taking Cerazette for the past week after the Cerelle debacle and already, my skin is clearing up. My skin is smoother, there have been no more breakouts of spots and my skin is now glowing and bright. Oh, no bleeding either.
In my personal opinion, I believe that Cerelle is just a sham. There is something fundamentally wrong with it and it’s frightful to think that in a bid to save money, the NHS have been ordered to switch thousands of people onto a pill which has a higher chance of giving them unbearable side effects. I’ve paid into the NHS and up until recently, it has always looked after me. But I think people know their bodies well enough to be able to decide what pill is right for them. A happy person is worth so much more than the saving they may have made by pushing Cerelle.