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Mercilon is a frequently prescribed combined oral contraceptive. We offer a convenient repeat prescription service for women who have been taking the contraceptive pill for at least three months.

To place an order, fill in our brief questionnaire. You can choose a preferred treatment, such as Mercilon. Our online doctor will review your information and approve an appropriate treatment.

If our doctor has confirmed that Mercilon is suitable for you, you have two delivery options. Prescriptions for urgent treatment can be delivered by Pharmacy Collect, usually within an hour. Or you can choose for your prescription to be delivered to your address. Prescriptions can be used at a pharmacy of your choice. 

A consultation for the contraceptive pill costs €20.               

  • Genuine Prescriptions from Registered Doctors
  • Safe, Fast and Convenient
  • Delivery to Home or Pharmacy

What is Mercilon?

Mercilon is a combined contraceptive pill which contains two synthetic hormones: ethinylestradiol and desogestrel. It is an effective form of birth control.

How does Mercilon work?

Mercilon birth control works in 3 ways:

  • Mercilon prevents ovulation. This means that no egg is released from the ovaries, and so no fertilisation can take place.
  • Mercilon increases the thickness of the cervical mucus. This makes it difficult for sperm to enter the womb.
  • Mercilon alters the womb lining, making it too thin for an egg to become implanted in the womb, if one was released from the ovaries.

What are the advantages of Mercilon?

Similar to many of the other combined contraceptives, Mercilon can help regulate the menstrual cycle and make periods more predictable. It can also reduce any pain experienced by women when they menstruate. Mercilon might even reduce the risk of cancer of the ovaries and womb.

Can I still get pregnant in the long run?

If you are taking the pill as the instructions state, you are virtually completely protected from becoming pregnant. As the treatment is only hormonal, you can get pregnant again once you stop taking the treatment. The treatment is very reliable and reversible.

Who usually takes Mercilon?

Any woman who is over 18 and is not pregnant can take Mercilon to prevent pregnancy. As with some of the other contraceptives, Mercilon needs to be taken almost every day (every day for 21 days, starting on the first day of your period). To make the treatment work, you need to be consistent with taking the pill: some women may find this inconvenient. You should check the warnings tab to ensure that it is suitable for you to take Mercilon.

However, Mercilon is not recommended for smokers over 35 years old, and women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 kg/m2.

Am I at risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Any contraception containing oestrogen increases the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Studies suggest that for women who do not use contraception the risk of VTE is 5 to 50 women per year in 100,000. This risk rises two to fivefold for women who use low dose oestrogen combined oral contraceptives (COCs), to 25 to 100 women per year in 100,000. Progesterone only pills (POPs) do not increase the risk of VTE. As Mercilon contains the least oestrogen of the COCs, the increased risk of VTE is minimised.

Am I at risk of a heart attack? 

No. There is no increased risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction) due to using low dose oestrogen combined contraceptives such as Mercilon.

Will my weight increase? 

No. Mercilon does not cause weight gain. Weight gain was a side effect of earlier contraceptives with higher progesterone doses. The modern combined oral contraceptives (COCs) such as Marvelon, Mercilon, and Cerazette offered by DrEd contain reduced levels of progesterone, and the type of progesterone used (Desogestrel) is more targeted and does not have the side effect of weight gain.

Is there anything I can’t eat whilst taking Mercilon? 

No, just maintain your current diet.

When should I start taking Mercilon? 

You should start taking Mercilon on the first day of your period. This will continue for 21 days.

Do I still need to use a condom when taking Mercilon? 

Yes. Taking a contraceptive like Mercilon does not protect you from STIs (sexually transmitted infections): a condom can prevent STI transmission. Furthermore, there is always that 1% chance that you can still get pregnant whilst taking Mercilon: using a condom is a good back up precaution.

Can I drink alcohol whilst taking Mercilon? 

There is no interaction between this medication and alcohol and so it is medically acceptable to drink whilst on Mercilon. However, drinking too much alcohol can have very severe impacts on your general health and so should be avoided.

How will I know that Mercilon is working? 

You do not take the pill for 7 days in your cycle (the time between the 21st day after the first day of your period and the first day of your next period). During this time, you will have a “withdrawal” bleed. This is perfectly normal and shows the contraceptive is working as it should. If you miss one of these withdrawal bleeds but have taken your pills correctly, it is unlikely you are pregnant. However, if you miss two withdrawal bleeds in a row, there is a chance you are pregnant. If this applies to you, contact a medical professional as soon as possible; they will be able to confirm whether you are pregnant or not.

What dosage do I take?

A standard Mercilon tablet contains 150mg Desogestrel and 20mg Ethinylestradiol. You should take one tablet per day, and try to set up a routine where you take this at the same time every day to make sure you don’t miss a dose. If you realise you have missed a dose too late, just resume your medication the next day. You will still be protected. However, if you miss three or more treatments, the treatment is ineffective and you can get pregnant. It doesn’t matter if you take food or don’t take food with your treatment.

Vomiting or having diarrhoea 12 hours after taking the pill may mean you are not fully protected. This case should be treated in the same way as missing a dose: resume treatment the next day, but be sure to use additional contraceptive methods just in case.

You should take Mercilon for 21 days, starting on the first day of your period. During the last 7 days of your 28-day cycle, you do not take the pill. During this time, you may experience some bleeding from the vagina: this is not a period, but just shows your body is responding to the contraceptive. The treatment is usually provided in “strips” of 21: this makes it easier for you to remember when to take your treatment.

Even if you are still having a withdrawal bleed but your 7 break days are over, you must resume taking Mercilon for the next 21 days to ensure full protection.

If you overdose, this will not improve you protection. It won’t harm you either, but may make you feel nauseous or experience vaginal bleeding, so is not advisable.

What is in a Mercilon tablet?

Mercilon tablets contain the active ingredients ethinylestradiol (20mg) and desogestrel (150mg). Mercilon tablets also contain dl-alpha-tocopherol, potato starch, povidone, stearic acid, aerosil and lactose. If you are allergic to any of these ingredients you should not take Mercilon.

Mercilon Side Effects

  • Migraine/headache
  • Weight gain
  • Sore breasts/nipple discharge
  • Depression/mood changes
  • Increased blood pressure (swollen feet and hands). This is rare
  • Gynaecological and vaginal problems: fibroids/endometriosis (womb disorders), fungal infections like thrush and changes in secretions
  • Withdrawal bleeds (do not worry about these, so long as they do not last over 2 days)
  • Rashes/brown patches on the skin may occasionally occur
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Eye discomfort
  • Gall stones
  • Chorea (jerky movements)
  • Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (causes joint ache and tiredness)

The following side effects are severe and you must see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

Blood Clot (symptoms: painful swelling of the leg, chest pains, laboured breathing)

Heart attack/stroke (symptoms: severe migraine, blurred/loss of vision, dizziness, fainting, seizures, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sharp chest or stomach pains)

Severe allergic reaction (symptoms: swollen face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat)

Breast cancer As with all oral hormonal contraceptives, there is a slight increase (0.3%) in the risk of breast cancer (symptoms: dimpling of the skin, changes to the nipple, visible or tangible lumps in the breast tissue).

Cervical cancer A possible slight increase in risk of cervical cancer is associated with all the combined contraceptives (symptoms: vaginal discharge containing blood, vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, painful sex).

Severe liver problems A possible slight increase in risk of liver problems is associated with all the combined contraceptives (symptoms: upper abdomen pain, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin))


What a doctor may do before you start taking Mercilon:

  • Take your blood pressure
  • Check your family’s medical history
  • Examine your breasts

While you are taking Mercilon you need to:

  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor
  • Have regular cervical smear tests
  • Check your breasts for changes, lumps and dimpling of the skin regularly
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking Mercilon and need a blood test
  • Tell your doctor if you are on Mercilon before an operation: you may need to stop your contraceptive treatment 4-6 weeks before an operation to reduce the risk of blood clots

Which other risks are associated with taking the pill?

Mercilon may slightly increase your risk of having a blood clot. This is particularly true during the first year of treatment. Deep vein thrombosis is a clot in a leg vein. This is not always serious, but if the clot moves into the lungs it can cause chest pains, breathlessness, collapse and even death.

Of 100,000 women who are not on Mercilon, about 5 to 50 per year will have a blood clot: this rises to 25 to 100 in every 100,000 women taking Mercilon. However, as you can see from the figures, the chance of a blood clot is quite rare. Your lifestyle and other health factors, such as smoking and obesity, may be more likely to determine your risk of a blood clot.

Mercilon may increase the risk of cancer of the cervix, but this is more likely to be due to having sex without a condom, rather than Mercilon interacting with your body. To avoid this, have regular smear tests.

Mercilon may increase the risk of breast cancer slightly. You should not take Mercilon if you have or have had breast cancer. If you do not have breast cancer, the risk increases with the length of time you take Mercilon for, but returns to normal within ten years of stopping the medication.

You should see your doctor immediately if you notice any changes to your breasts.

Do not take Mercilon if the following apply to you:

  • You are pregnant/breast feeding
  • You have/have had breast cancer
  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • You have/have had severe liver disease
  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in Mercilon
  • You or anyone in your close family has had problems with their circulation (including blood clots, heart attacks or strokes)
  • You had the following issues whilst pregnant or on steroids: jaundice, blister-like rash, hearing problems or systemic lupus erythematosus
  • You are over 50
  • You are under 18
  • You are a heavy smoker (more than 40 a day)

You should not take Mercilon if any of the above apply to you. In addition, if you experience any of the above whilst on Mercilon, consult your doctor immediately.

Some health issues may mean that Mercilon is less suitable for you, but that you can still use it.

Tell your doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had heart or circulation problems (e.g. blood clotting)
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis
  • You have sickle cell anaemia
  • You have diabetes
  • You have excessive thickening of the womb lining
  • You have had gynaecological problems like fibroids or endometriosis
  • You have had kidney/liver problems or gall stones
  • You have had severe depression
  • You have/ have had epilepsy/migraines
  • You have brown patches on your body/face (chloasma)
  • You smoke
  • You have taken sex steroids before
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have high blood cholesterol or a family history of this
  • You have gallstones

If you experience any of these after starting taking Mercilon, consult your doctor at once.

Some medicines can stop Mercilon from working properly :

  • Epilepsy treatments
  • Some antibiotics
  • Some sedatives (barbiturates)
  • St John’s Wort (herbal remedy)
  • Griseofulvin (antifungal)
  • Some laxatives/medical charcoal

Mercilon can also affect how well other medicines work. An example is diabetic medicine. You should consult your doctor if you are taking any other medication whilst taking Mercilon.

You should be over 18 if you use Mercilon.

There are no tests determining the safety of the drug in people under this age.

If you have a question about this service, please email [email protected] with the question, and one of our doctors will get back to you within 24 hours.

Pharmacy Collect

If you need your medication urgently, choose DrEd's Pharmacy Collect service. This service is available between 9am and 4pm Monday - Friday. Orders placed outside of these hours will be processed the next working day. First, our doctors will review your treatment and approve if appropriate. We will then send an advanced notification of your prescription to a pharmacy of your choice. We aim to do this within an hour.

If your chosen pharmacy is unable to fulfil your prescription, we will get in touch with you to arrange alternative collection arrangements.

Prescription sent by mail

You can choose for your paper prescription to be delivered to your address. This takes 3-5 working days.


1 Order Prescription

Complete a fast and simple online health questionnaire

2 Doctor Prescribes

Doctor reviews your suitability and if appropriate issues your prescription

3 Prescription Delivered

We’ll send urgent scripts fast to any Irish pharmacy or the paper script to your address

  • Genuine Prescriptions from Registered Doctors
  • Safe, Fast and Convenient
  • Delivery to Home or Pharmacy

Anytime, Anywhere

You can complete one of our online assessments at any time, whenever it suits you. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. Choose your medication
    You'll complete a short online health assessment and choose the medication you need. If you\'re unsure, our in-house GPs can also recommend the best treatment for you.

  2. Our GP prescribes your medication
    Our doctors will review your order and issue your prescription.

  3. Free delivery to your door or collect from the pharmacy
    Free delivery to your address is included. Or for urgent orders you can collect straight from your pharmacy

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FREE Fast Delivery

Orders placed before 4pm will be dispatched the same day.

Standard Delivery

Estimated Delivery:
Delivered to your chosen address within 3-5 working days.

Pharmacy Collect

Estimated Delivery:
For urgent orders, delivered to your chosen pharmacy from 1 hour of placing your order if placed Mon-Fri 9am-4pm.

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Your prescription will be delivered in plain, unlabeled packaging

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