Dianette – a Pill for Acne

Dianette is often used to treat severe acne in women which hasn’t responded to other treatments. It’s also prescribed to women who are experiencing abnormal hair growth. Although it will also protect you against pregnancy, it’s not designed to be used just for contraception.

Dr Clair Grainger

Medically reviewed by

Dr Clair Grainger

Last reviewed: 14 Nov 2019

What is Dianette Prescribed for?

Dianette contains a combination of drugs that is used to reduce androgens (a type of sex hormone) and regulate hormones in women. Cyproterone is an anti-androgen which prevents overproduction of sebum and excessive hair growth in women. Ethinylestradiol is a synthetic version of oestrogen, a naturally occurring sex hormone. Dianette is often prescribed for women who are experiencing the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) such as acne or excessive facial hair as it can help with regulating periods too.Androgens stimulate the glands on your skin which produce sebum and encourage hair growth. Dianette reduces the amount of androgens you produce, which helps to clear up your acne and reduce excess hair.Dianette is also a combined oral contraceptive pill, but is no longer available free on the NHS as a contraceptive only.Please note that Superdrug Online Doctor does not currently offer Dianette.

Does Dianette Help Acne?

Dianette is an effective treatment for acne, and is usually prescribed to women who have tried other treatments for their skin without any success. 

What Are the Ingredients in Dianette?

Dianette tablets contain two active ingredients, cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol. The combination is also known as co-cyprindiol, which is available as an unbranded generic medicine.

Does Dianette Cause Weight Gain?

Weight gain, mostly caused by water retention is one of the reported side effects of Dianette, although not every woman will experience these side effects from taking it. Dianette isn’t the only type of contraceptive pill that can potentially cause water-retention related weight gain. It’s most likely to happen in the first two or three months after starting to take it.

A few women have had what they describe as ‘significant weight gain’- although mostly water retention - while taking Dianette, and if this happens to you, you’ll have to decide whether the benefits of the medicine outweigh the side effects.

If you do start to notice weight changes, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your weight on a weekly basis, and if you are putting on more than a few pounds after you’ve been taking it for three months, talk to your doctor.

Does Dianette Stop Periods?

There is a chance that taking Dianette can stop your periods, even for some time after you finish taking it. You might also experience spotting, breakthrough bleeding and missed periods while you’re taking it. Although these are known side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Is Dianette Dangerous?

Although all medicines carry a risk of side effects, and the combined contraceptive pill in particular has been shown to slightly increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and other conditions, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has looked into the safety of Dianette and found that the side effect of blood clots is 1.5 to 2 times higher than with some other combined oral contraceptives.

The EMA suggested, that all women are told about the risk of blood clots and DVT before starting to take Dianette, and are monitored while using it. In 2013, they said “there is no need for a woman who is feeling well to stop taking her medicine. If any woman has questions about her treatment she should contact her doctor."

The risk of blood clots is higher if you don’t move for a long period of time, for example if you’re going into hospital or will be travelling for over three hours. You can reduce your risk of developing a blood clot while travelling by doing a little exercise if possible and wearing compression stockings. If you are due to go into hospital for any period of time, your doctor might advise you to stop taking Dianette.

Can Dianette Increase the Risk of Cancer?

Women who take hormonal contraceptives do have a small increase in the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who don’t take the pill. At the same time, they also seem to have a statistically higher risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer. However they also have a decreased risk of cancers of the ovaries and endometrium (lining of the womb). 


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