This information is intended for use by health professionals

1. Name of the medicinal product

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets

Zelleta 75 micrograms Tablets

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

One tablet contains 75 micrograms desogestrel.

Excipient: 58.22 mg lactose (as Lactose anhydrous).

For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3. Pharmaceutical form

Tablet

The tablet is round, white to off-white, uncoated, biconvex , 5 mm in diameter, debossed '152' on one side and other side plain.

4. Clinical particulars
4.1 Therapeutic indications

Oral Contraception

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Posology

“The safety and efficacy of desogestrel in adolescents below 18 years has not yet been established. No data are available.”

Paediatric population

“The safety and efficacy of desogestrel in adolescents below 18 years has not yet been established. No data are available."

Method of Administration

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets must be taken every day at about the same time so that the interval between two tablets always is 24 hours. The first tablet should be taken on the first day of menstrual bleeding. Thereafter one tablet each day is to be taken continuously, without taking any notice on possible bleeding. A new blister is started directly the day after the previous one.

How to start Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets.

No preceding hormonal contraceptive use [in the past month]

Tablet-taking has to start on day 1 of the woman's natural cycle (day 1 is the first day of her menstrual bleeding). Starting on days 2-5 is allowed, but during the first cycle a barrier method is recommended for the first 7 days of tablet-taking.

Following first-trimester abortion

After first-trimester abortion it is recommended to start immediately. In that case there is no need to use an additional method of contraception.

Following delivery or second-trimester abortion

Contraceptive treatment with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets after delivery can be initiated before the menstruations have returned. If more than 21 days have elapsed pregnancy ought to be ruled out and an additional method of contraception should be used for the first week.

For additional information for breastfeeding women see Section 4.6.

How to start Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets when changing from other contraceptive methods

Changing from a combined hormonal contraceptive (combined oral contraceptive (COC), vaginal ring, or transdermal patch)

The woman should start with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets preferably on the day after the last active tablet (the last tablet containing the active substances) of her previous COC or on the day of removal of her vaginal ring or transdermal patch. In these cases, the use of an additional contraceptive is not necessary. Not all contraceptive methods may be available in all EU countries.

The woman may also start at the latest on the day following the usual tablet-free, patch-free, ring-free or placebo tablet interval of her previous combined hormonal contraceptive, but during the first 7 days of tablet-taking an additional barrier method is recommended.

Changing from a progestogen-only-method (minipill, injection, implant or from a progestogen-releasing intrauterine system [IUS])

The woman may switch any day from the minipill (from an implant or the IUS on the day of its removal, from an injectable when the next injection would be due);

Management of missed tablet

Contraceptive protection may be reduced if more than 36 hours have elapsed between two tablets. If the user is less than 12 hours late in taking any tablet, the missed tablet should be taken as soon as it is remembered and the next tablet should be taken at the usual time. If she is more than 12 hours late, she should use an additional method of contraception for the next 7 days. If tablets were missed in the first week and intercourse took place in the week before the tablets were missed, the possibility of a pregnancy should be considered.

Advice in case of gastrointestinal disturbances

In case of severe gastro-intestinal disturbance, absorption may not be complete and additional contraceptive measures should be taken.

If vomiting occurs within 3-4 hours after tablet-taking, absorption may not complete. The same advice is applicable as for a missed tablet.

Treatment surveillance

Before prescription, a thorough case history should be taken and a thorough gynaecological examination is recommended to exclude pregnancy. Bleeding disturbances, such as oligomenorrhoea and amenorrhoea should be investigated before prescription. The interval between check-ups depends on the circumstances in each individual case. If the prescribed product may conceivably influence latent or manifest disease (see Section 4.4), the control examinations should be timed accordingly.

Despite the fact that Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets are taken regularly, bleeding disturbances may occur. If bleeding is very frequent and irregular, another contraceptive method should be considered. If the symptoms persist, an organic cause should be ruled out.

Management of amenorrhoea during treatment depends on whether or not the tablets have been taken in accordance with the instructions and may include a pregnancy test.

The treatment should be stopped if a pregnancy occurs.

Women should be advised that Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets do not protect against HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

4.3 Contraindications

Active venous thromboembolic disorder.

• Presence or history of severe hepatic disease as long as liver function values have not returned to normal.

• Known or suspected sex-steroid sensitive malignancies.

• Undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.

• Hypersensitivity to active substance or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

If any of the conditions/risk factors mentioned below is present, the benefits of progesterone use should be weighed against the possible risks for each individual woman and discussed with the woman before she decides to start with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets. In the event of aggravation, exacerbation, or first appearance of any of these conditions, the woman should contact her physician. The physician should then decide on whether the use of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets should be discontinued.

The risk for breast cancer increases in general with increasing age. During the use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) the risk of having breast cancer diagnosed is slightly increased. This increased risk disappears gradually within 10 years after discontinuation of COC use and is not related to the duration of use, but to the age of the woman when using the COC.

The expected number of cases diagnosed per 10 000 women who use combined OCs (up to 10 years after stopping) relative to never users over the same period have been calculated for the respective age groups and is presented in the table below.

Age category combined

Expected cases OC-users

Expected cases non- users

16-19 years

4.5

4

20-24 years

17.5

16

25-29 years

48.7

44

30-34 years

110

100

35-39 years

180

160

40-44 years

260

230

The risk in users of progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs), such as Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets is possibly of similar magnitude as that associated with combined OCs. However, for POCs the evidence is less conclusive. Compared to the risk of getting breast cancer ever in life, the increased risk associated with COCs is low. The cases of breast cancer diagnosed in COC users tend to be less advanced than in those who have not used COCs. The increased risk in COC users may be due to an earlier diagnosis, biological effects of the pill or a combination of both.

Since a biological effect of progestogens on liver cancer cannot be excluded an individual benefit/risk assessment should be made in woman with liver cancer.

When acute or chronic disturbances of liver function occur the woman should be referred to a specialist for examination and advice.

Epidemiological investigations have associated the use of combined OCs with an increased incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE, deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism). Although the clinical relevance of this finding for desogestrel used as a contraceptive in the absence of an oestrogenic component is unknown, Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets should be discontinued in the event of a thrombosis. Discontinuation of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets should also be considered in case of long-term immobilisation due to surgery or illness. Women with a history of thrombo-embolic disorders should be aware of the possibility of a recurrence.

Although progestogens may have an effect on peripheral insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, there is no evidence for a need to alter the therapeutic regimen in diabetics using progestogen-only pills. However, diabetic patients should be carefully observed during the first months of use.

If a sustained hypertension develops during the use of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets, or if a significant increase in blood pressure does not adequately respond to antihypertensive therapy, discontinuation of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets should be considered.

Treatment with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets leads to decreased estradiol serum levels, to a level corresponding with the early follicular phase. It is as yet unknown whether the decrease has any clinically relevant effect on bone mineral density.

The protection with traditional progestogen-only pills against ectopic pregnancies is not as good as with combined oral contraceptives, which has been associated with the frequent occurrence of ovulations during the use of progestogen-only pills. Despite the fact that Desogestrel 75 micrograms tablets consistently inhibits ovulation, ectopic pregnancy should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis if the woman gets amenorrhoea or abdominal pain.

Chloasma may occasionally occur, especially in women with a history of chloasma gravidarum. Women with a tendency to chloasma should avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation whilst taking Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets.

The following conditions have been reported both during pregnancy and during sex steroid use, but an association with the use of progestogens has not been established: jaundice and/or pruritus related to cholestasis; gallstone formation; porphyria; systemic lupus erythematosus; haemolytic uraemic syndrome; Sydenham's chorea; herpes gestationis; otosclerosis-related hearing loss; (hereditary) angioedema.

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets contain 58.22 mg lactose (as Lactose Anhydrous) and therefore should not be administered to patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, total lactase deficiency, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.

Depressed mood and depression are well-known undesirable effects of hormonal contraceptive use (see section 4.8). Depression can be serious and is a well-known risk factor for suicidal behaviour and suicide. Women should be advised to contact their physician in case of mood changes and depressive symptoms, including shortly after initiating the treatment.

The efficacy of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets may be reduced in the event of missed tablets (section 4.2), gastro-intestinal disturbances (Section 4.2), or concomitant medications that decrease the plasma concentration of etonogestrel, the active metabolite of desogestrel (Section 4.5).

Laboratory tests

Data obtained with COCs have shown that contraceptive steroids may influence the results of certain laboratory tests, including biochemical parameters of liver, thyroid, adrenal and renal function, serum levels of (carrier) proteins, e.g. corticosteroid binding globulin and lipid/lipoprotein fractions, parameters of carbohydrate metabolism and parameters of coagulation and fibrinolysis. The changes generally remain within the normal range. To what extent this also applies to progestogen-only contraceptives is not known.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Interactions

Note: The prescribing information of concomitant medications should be consulted to identify potential interactions.

Effect of other medicinal products on Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets

Interactions can occur with medicinal products that induce microsomal enzymes, which can result in increased clearance of sex hormones and may lead to breakthrough bleeding and/or contraceptive failure.

Management

Enzyme induction can occur after a few days of treatment. Maximum enzyme induction is generally observed within a few weeks. After drug therapy is discontinued, enzyme induction can last for about 4 weeks.

Short-term treatment

Women on treatment with hepatic enzyme-inducing medicinal or herbal products should be advised that the efficacy of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets may be reduced. A barrier contraceptive method should be used in addition to Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets. The barrier method must be used during the whole time of concomitant drug therapy and for 28 days after discontinuation of the hepatic enzyme-inducing medicinal product.

Long-term treatment

For women on long-term therapy with enzyme-inducing medicinal products, an alternative method of contraception unaffected by enzyme-inducing medicinal products should be considered.

Substances increasing the clearance of contraceptive hormones (diminished contraceptive efficacy by enzyme induction) e.g.:

Barbiturates, bosentan, carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, rifampicin, efavirenz and possibly also felbamate, griseofulvin, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, rifabutin and products containing the herbal remedy St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum).

Substances with variable effects on the clearance of contraceptive hormones:

When co-administered with hormonal contraceptives, many combinations of HIV protease inhibitors (e.g. ritonavir, nelfinavir) and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (e.g. nevirapine) and/or combinations with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) medicinal products (e.g. boceprevir, telaprevir), can increase or decrease plasma concentrations of progestins. The net effect of these changes may be clinically relevant in some cases.

Therefore, the prescribing information of concomitant HIV/HCV medications should be consulted to identify potential interactions and any related recommendations. In case of any doubt, an additional barrier contraceptive method should be used by women on protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy.

Substances decreasing the clearance of contraceptive hormones (enzyme inhibitors)

Concomitant administration of strong (e.g. ketoconazole, itraconazole, clarithromycin) or moderate (e.g. fluconazole, diltiazem, erythromycin) CYP3A4 inhibitors may increase the serum concentrations of progestins, including etonogestrel, the active metabolite of desogestrel.

Effects of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets on other medicinal products

Hormonal contraceptives may interfere with the metabolism of other drugs. Accordingly, plasma and tissue concentrations of other active substances may either increase (e.g. ciclosporine) or decrease (e.g. lamotrigine).

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Pregnancy:

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets are not indicated during pregnancy. When pregnancy occurs during treatment with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets, further intake should be stopped.

Animal studies have shown that very high doses of progestogenic substances may cause masculinisation of female foetuses.

Extensive epidemiological studies have revealed neither an increased risk of birth defects in children born to women who used OCs prior to pregnancy, nor a teratogenic effect when OCs were taken inadvertently during early pregnancy.

Pharmacovigilance data collected with various desogestrel-containing combined OCs also do not indicate an increased risk.

Breastfeeding:

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets do not influence the production or the quality (protein, lactose, or fat concentrations) of breast milk. However, small amounts of etonogestrel, (the metabolite of desogestrel) are excreted with the milk. As a result, 0.01 - 0.05 microgram etonogestrel per kg body weight per day may be ingested by the child (based on an estimated milk ingestion of 150 ml/kg/day). Limited long-term follow-up data are available on children, whose mothers started using another desogestrel-only pill during the 4th to 8th week post-partum. They were breast-fed for 7 months and followed up to 1.5 years (n=32) or to 2.5 years (n= 14) of age. Evaluation of growth and physical and psychomotor development did not indicate any differences in comparison to nursing infants, whose mother used a copper-IUD. Based on the available data, Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets may be used during lactation. The development and growth of the nursing infant, whose mother uses Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets, should, however, be carefully observed.

Please refer Section 4.3 for information on contraindications.

Fertility

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy. For information on return to fertility (ovulation), see section 5.1.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets has no or neglible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

4.8 Undesirable effects

The most commonly reported undesirable effect in the clinical trials is bleeding irregularity. Some kind of bleeding irregularity has been reported in up to 50% of women using desogestrel. Since desogestrel causes ovulation inhibition close to 100%, in contrast to other progestogen-only pills, irregular bleeding is more common than with other progestogen-only pills. In 20 - 30% of the women, bleeding may become more frequent, whereas in another 20% bleeding may become less frequent or totally absent. Vaginal bleeding may also be of longer duration.

After a couple of months of treatment, bleedings tend to become less frequent. Information, counselling and a bleeding diary can improve the woman's acceptance of the bleeding pattern.

The most commonly reported other undesirable effects in the clinical trials with desogestrel (> 2.5%) were acne, mood changes, breast pain, nausea and weight increase. The undesirable effects are mentioned in the table below.

All ADRs are listed by system organ class and frequency; common (≥1/100 to <1/10), uncommon (≥1/1,000 to <1/100) and rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000).

System Organ Class

(MedDRA)*

Frequency of adverse reactions

Common ≥ 1/100

Uncommon <1/100, ≥1/1000

Rare <1/1000

Infections and infestations

Vaginal infection

Psychiatric disorders

Mood altered

Libido decreased

Depressed mood

Nervous system disorders

Headache

Eye disorders

Contact lens intolerance

Gastrointestinal disorders

Nausea

Vomiting

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders

Acne

Alopecia

Rash, Urticaria, Erythema nodosum

Reproductive System and breast disorders

Breast pain, Menstruation irregular, Amenorrhoea

Dysmenorrhoea, Ovarian cyst

General disorders And administration site condition

Fatigue

Investigations

Weight increased

* MedDRA version 12.1;

Breast discharge may occur during use of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets. On rare occasions, ectopic pregnancies have been reported (see Section 4.4). In addition, (aggravation of) angioedema and/or aggravation of hereditary angioedema may occur (see Section 4.4).

In women using (combined) oral contraceptives a number of (serious) undesirable effects have been reported. These include venous thromboembolic disorders, arterial thromboembolic disorders, hormone-dependent tumours (e.g. liver tumours, breast cancer), and chloasma, some of which are discussed in more detail in Section 4.4.

Breakthrough bleeding and/or contraceptive failure may result from interactions of other drugs (enzyme inducers) with hormonal contraceptives (see section 4.5).

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

4.9 Overdose

There have been no reports of serious deleterious effects from overdose. Symptoms that may occur in this case are nausea, vomiting and, in young girls, slight vaginal bleeding. There are no antidotes and further treatment should be symptomatic.

5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: Hormonal contraceptives for systemic use, Progestogens.

ATC code: G03AC09

Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets are a progestogen-only pill, which contains the progestogen desogestrel. Like other progestogen-only pills, Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets are best for nursing mothers and women who are unable or unwilling to take estrogen.

Mechanism of action

Unlike traditional pills containing only progestogen, the contraceptive effect of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets is achieved mainly by inhibiting ovulation. Other effects include increased viscosity of the cervical mucus.

Clinical efficacy and safety

When studied for 2 cycles, using a definition of ovulation as a progesterone level greater than 16 nmol/L for 5 consecutive days, the ovulation incidence was found to be 1 % (1/103) with a 95% confidence interval of 0.02%- 5.29% in the intention-to-treat group (user and method failures). Ovulation inhibition was achieved from the first cycle of use. In this study, when desogestrel was discontinued after 2 cycles (56 continuous days), ovulation occurred on average after 17 days (range 7 - 30 days).

In a comparative efficacy trial (which allowed a maximum time of 3 hours for missed pills) the overall intention-to treat Pearl-Index found for desogestrel was 0.4 (95% confidence interval 0.09 - 1.20), compared to 1.6 for 30 micrograms levonorgestrel (95% confidence interval 0.42 - 3.96).

The Pearl-Index for Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets are comparable to the one historically found for combined oral contraceptives in the general oral contraceptives-using population.

Treatment with Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets leads to decreased estradiol levels, to a level corresponding to the early follicular phase. No clinically relevant effects on carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism and haemostasis have been observed.

Paediatric population

No clinical data on efficacy and safety are available in adolescents below 18 years.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties

Absorption

After oral dosing of desogestrel is rapidly absorbed and converted into etonogestrel. Under steady-state conditions, peak serum levels are reached 1.8 hours after tablet-intake and the absolute bioavailability of etonorgestrel is approximately 70%.

Distribution

Etonorgestrel is 95.5-99% bound to serum proteins, predominantly to albumin and to a lesser extent to sex hormone binding globuline.

Biotransformation

Desogestrel is metabolised via hydroxylation and dehydrogenation to the active metabolite etonorgestrel. Etonorgestrel is metabolised via sulphate and glucuronide conjugation.

Elimination

Etonorgestrel is eliminated with a mean half-life of approximately 30 hours, with no difference between single and multiple dosing. Steady-state levels in plasma are reached after 4-5 days. The serum clearance after i.v. administration of etonorgestrel is approximately 10 l per hour. Excretion of etonorgestrel and its metabolites either as free steroid or as conjugates, is with urine and faeces (ratio 1.5:1). In lactating women, etonorgestrel is excreted in breast milk with a milk/serum ratio of 0.37-0.55. Based on these data and an estimated milk intake of 150 ml/kg/day, 0.01 - 0.05 microgram etonorgestrel maybe ingested by the infant.

Special populations

Effect of renal impairment

No studies were performed to evaluate the effect of renal disease on the pharmacokinetics of DSG.

Effect of hepatic impairment

No studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic disease on the pharmacokinetics of DSG. However, steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in women with impaired liver function.

Ethnic groups

No studies were performed to assess pharmacokinetics in ethnic groups.

5.3 Preclinical safety data

Toxicological studies did not reveal any effects other than those, which can be explained from the hormonal properties of desogestrel.

Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)

The active substance etonogestrel shows an environmental risk to fish.

6. Pharmaceutical particulars
6.1 List of excipients

Lactose anhydrous

Potato starch

Povidone

all-rac-α-tocopherol

Silica colloidal anhydrous

Stearic acid

6.2 Incompatibilities

Not applicable.

6.3 Shelf life

3 years

6.4 Special precautions for storage

This medicinal product does not require any special storage conditions.

6.5 Nature and contents of container

A blister consists of 28 Tablets of Desogestrel 75 micrograms Tablets. The blister consisting of PVC film coated with PVdC with counter-sealing foil made of aluminium with heat sealing coating. One blister to be packed in a tri-laminated pouch with or without silica gel bag.

Blister is presented as a calendar pack stating the week days on it.

Pack sizes: 1x28, 3x28, 6x28, 13x28 tablets.

Not all pack sizes may be marketed.

6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling

No special requirements.

Any unused product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.

7. Marketing authorisation holder

Morningside Healthcare Limited

Unit C, Harcourt Way

Leicester

LE19 1WP

United Kingdom

8. Marketing authorisation number(s)

PL 20117/0186

9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation

26/06/2012

10. Date of revision of the text

05/05/2020