Desogen Side Effects

Although most women do not experience any problems while taking Desogen, side effects are possible. Some of the common problems reported with this birth control pill include nausea, bloating, and headaches. Such reactions are typically minor and, in most cases, easily treated. However, seek immediate medical care if you develop more serious side effects, such as migraines, chest pain, or depression.

An Introduction to Desogen Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Desogen® (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol). However, not everyone who uses the contraceptive will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can be treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Desogen. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of side effects with you. Desogen is equivalent to Apri®, Emoquette™, Enskyce™, Ortho-Cept®, Reclipsen™, and Soliabirth control pills. The information in this article also applies to each of these medications.)

Common Side Effects of Desogen

In clinical studies for most medications, one group of people receives the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). The side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and whether they are actual side effects of the drug.
However, it is not possible to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies.
Because it is difficult to obtain much information about possible side effects from studies that do not use a placebo, only vague information is available about Desogen side effects. In fact, the side effects listed in the prescribing information are actually possible with all birth control pills, not just Desogen.
Some of the common, bothersome (but not usually dangerous) side effects of birth control pills include but are not limited to:
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting between periods (especially for the first few cycles)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness and enlargement
  • Headaches (although birth control pills can improve headaches in some women)
  • Acne (although birth control pills can also improve acne)
  • Changes in sex drive (often a decrease).
Women are often concerned about weight gain due to birth control pills, but recent research suggests that birth control pills probably do not cause weight gain for most women (see Desogen and Weight Gain).

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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