What is AZALIA® & what is it used for?

A package of Azalia contraceptives

AZALIA® contains a small amount of one type of female sex hormone, the progestogen, desogestrel. For this reason Azalia is called a progestogen-only pill (POP). Unlike the combined pill, the POP does not contain an oestrogen hormone, but only a progestogen.

How does it work?

  • Most POPs or mini-pills work by preventing the sperm cells from entering the womb but do not always prevent the egg cell from ripening which is the primary action of combined pills.
  • AZALIA® (and Cerazette®) are distinct from other mini-pills in having a dose that in most cases is high enough to prevent the egg cell from ripening. As a result, Azalia provides high contraceptive efficacy.
  • In contrast to the combined oral contraceptive pill this pill can be used by women who do not tolerate oestrogen and by women who are breast feeding. A disadvantage is that vaginal bleeding may occur at irregular intervals during the use of this pill. You may also not have any bleeding at all.

How to take AZALIA®

  • Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
  • Each strip of AZALIA® contains 28 tablets. Arrows and the day of the week are printed on the front side of the strip, which help you take your pill correctly. Take your daily tablet at about the same time each day. Swallow each tablet whole with water.
  • Each time you start a new strip of AZALIA® take a tablet in the top row. For example, if you start on a Wednesday, you should take the tablet from the top row marked WED.
  • You should continue to take one tablet a day, until the strip is empty, always following the direction indicated by the arrows. If you start on a Monday, in the end of the arrows the strip will be empty, but in every other case before you start a new strip you should use the tablets left on the top corner of this strip. In this way you can easily check whether you have taken your daily tablet. You may have some bleeding during the use of AZALIA® but you must continue to take your tablet as normal.
  • When a strip is empty, you must start with a new pack of AZALIA® on the next day – without interruption and without waiting for a bleeding.

How to start taking AZALIA®

Starting your first pack of Azalia If you are not using hormonal contraception at present

  • Wait for your period to begin. On the first day of your period take the first Azalia tablet. You need not take extra contraceptive precautions.
  • You may also start on days 2-5 of your cycle, but in that case make sure you also use an additional contraceptive method (barrier method) for the first 7 days of tablet-taking.

When changing from a combined pill, vaginal ring, or transdermal patch

  • You can start taking Azalia on the day after you take the last tablet from the present Pill pack, or on the day of removal of your vaginal ring or patch (this means no tablet-, ring- or patch-free break).
  • If your present Pill pack also contains inactive tablets you can start Azalia on the day after taking the last active tablet. If you follow these instructions, you need not take extra contraceptive precautions.

When changing from another progestogen-only pill (mini-pill)

  • You may stop taking it any day and start taking Azalia right away. You need not take extra contraceptive precautions.

When changing from an injectable or implant or a progestogen-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)

  • Start using Azalia when your next injection is due or on the day that your implant or your IUD is removed. You need not take extra contraceptive precautions.

What if I forget to take AZALIA®

  • If you are less than 12 hours later take the tablet as soon as you remember, and take the next one at the usual time. The contraceptive action of Azalia is maintained and you are protected from pregnancy providing you have taken all of the pills in the previous pack correctly and consistently.
  • If you are more than 12 hours late take a tablet as soon as you remember, and take the next one at the usual time. This may mean taking two tablets on the same day. This is not harmful. If you have forgotten more than one tablet you don’t need to take the earlier missed ones. You are not protected against pregnancy. Continue to take your tablets as usual, but you must to use an extra contraceptive method, such as a condom for the next 7 days.

For step by step guidance on what to do if you forget to take your tablets, please click on the button below:

Missed Pill Guidance button

What if I vomit or have severe diarrhoea after taking AZALIA®?

If you vomit or have severe diarrhoea within 3-4 hours after taking the pill the active substance may not have been completely absorbed.

  • After vomiting or diarrhoea, take another tablet from a reserve strip as soon as possible.
  • If possible take it within 12 hours of when you normally take your pill.
  • If that is not possible or 12 hours have passed, you should follow the missed pill guidance to ensure you are protected against pregnancy.

For step by step guidance on what to do if you vomit or have severe diarrhoea, please click on the button below:

Missed Pill Guidance button

Frequently asked questions about AZALIA®

I was previously on Cerazette® and have now been changed to AZALIA® – what is the difference?
These pills contain exactly the same active ingredients in the same quantities, but they are made by different manufacturers and therefore have different names. As this contraceptive pill contains exactly the same active ingredients as Cerazette® you should notice no difference when changing pills. If taken correctly, as described in the Patient Information Leaflet, this pill is an effective, reversible form of contraception.

What if I miss a dose of AZALIA®?
If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember even if it means taking two pills on the same day. If the missed pill is less than 12 hours late, your contraceptive protection should not be affected and additional contraception should be unnecessary. If the missed pill is more than 12 hours late, or more than one pill in a pack is late, contraceptive cover may be reduced and use of a condom is advised. Follow the missed pill guidance or refer to the Patient Information Leaflet for full details and advice. If you miss more than one pill ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.

What happens if I have a stomach upset?
If you have been sick within 3-4 hours after taking your pill or you have severe diarrhoea, your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill. In this case the advice concerning missed pills should be followed.

For further information, please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

What side effects may I experience?
The most commonly reported side effects are mood alteration, decreased sexual drive (libido), depressed mood, headache, nausea, acne, breast pain, irregular or no menstruation and weight increase. You should see your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of angioedema (such as swollen face, tongue or pharynx; difficulty in swallowing; or hives and difficulties breathing). Depressed mood and depression are undesirable effects of hormonal contraceptives. Contact your physician in the case of mood changes and depressive symptoms.

For further information, please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

Am I likely to develop a blood clot if I take AZALIA®?
The use of a progesterone only pill carries an increased risk of thrombosis, but this risk is lower than in users of combined oral contraceptive pills.

To find out more about the risk of thrombosis associated with your pill read the Patient Information Leaflet.

Are there any medicines I shouldn’t take whilst I am on oral contraceptives?
Contraceptive failure may occur with medications used for the treatment of epilepsy, fungal infections, tuberculosis, HIV and also with St John’s Wort. Before you take any medication it is best to ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as you may need additional contraceptive cover.

Your pill may also interfere with how certain medicines work, causing either an increase in effect (e.g. medicines containing cyclosporine) or a decrease in effect. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will advise you if you are unsure about taking other medicines in combination with your pill.

Am I at risk of developing breast cancer?
Breast cancer has been observed slightly more often in women who take the pill than in women of the same age who do not take the pill. The risk of breast cancer in users of progesterone only pills is believed to be similar to that in women who use combined oral contraceptive pills. For further information please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

AZALIA® general information

  • If taken correctly, AZALIA® is an effective, reversible form of contraception.
  • AZALIA® will not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. Only condoms can help to do this.
  • AZALIA® is suitable for women who are breast feeding.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your contraception please speak to your local doctor or nurse


  1. MIMS Ireland (August 2017) Contraception pp.322-325. MPI Media Ltd. Dublin
  2. Azalia Patient Information Leaflet

Information placed on this digital platform is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your healthcare professional. Please consult your doctor or nurse for further information.