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Everything you need to know about Slynd: The new progestogen-only pill

by Dani Conlon · Dec 22, 2022

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Reviewed by Dr. Melanie Davis-Hall on Dec 22, 2022

Everything you need to know about Slynd: The new progestogen-only pill
Introducing the new POP on the block… Slynd! Soon to be available in the UK, Slynd is the only oestrogen-free pill that has a 24 hour window to take it (she’s not like other mini pills).

What’s the lowdown?

  • Slynd is a new progestogen only pill which contains the hormone drospirenone.

  • Unlike other mini pills,  Slynd can be taken within a 24 hour ‘safe window’ and will still be effective just like the combined pill. 

  • A Slynd pill packet contains 24 ‘active’ pills containing hormones, and 4 ‘dummy’ sugar pills with no hormones.

  • It’s not available in the UK just yet! Only in the US and other parts of Europe.

What kind of pill is Slynd? 

Slynd contains a progestogen called drospirenone. You may recognise this hormone from some combined pills including DrovelisYasmin and Eloine. These combined pills also include synthetic oestrogen, whereas this new pill Slynd contains only drospirenone. Other progestogen only pills (aka mini pills) contain desogestrel (Cerelle), norethisterone (Noriday) or levonorgestrel (Norgeston). 

How effective is Slynd?

Slynd is taken daily, and mainly works to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. It also thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the womb and reaching an egg, and thins the lining of the womb to prevent a fertilised egg from implanting. With perfect use, Progestogen-only pills like Slynd can be more than 99% effective. 

However with typical use (i.e. at times forgetting to take a pill) the risk of pregnancy in the first year of use is probably around 9%¹. There are a few things that can stop the progestogen-only pill from working properly such as vomiting, some medicines, or missing a pill. Take a look at our complete guide to the progestogen-only pill to learn more about this. 

See how the effectiveness of progestogen-only pill compares with other contraceptives:

Contraceptive methodTypical usePerfect use
Implant0.05%0.05%
Male vasectomy0.15%0.10%
Hormonal IUD0.20%0.20%
Female sterilisation0.50%0.50%
Copper IUD0.80%0.60%
Copper Ballerine IUB0.80%0.60%
Injection 3.00%0.30%
Natural cycles7.00%2.00%
Combined hormonal contraception (pill, patch, ring)9.00%0.30%
Progestogen-only pill (‘mini pill’)9.00%<1.00%
Male condom15.00%7.00%
Diaphragm16.00%6.00%
Female condom21.00%5.00%
Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)22.00%0.40%
Withdrawal method (Pull out method)29.00%18.00%
No contraception85.00%85.00%

How do you take Slynd?

Slynd differs from other mini pills as there are 24 active pills in a pack which contain hormones, and 4 ‘dummy’ sugar pills.

You can either start the pack from day 1 of your natural menstrual cycle, and you will be protected against pregnancy straight away, or use condoms for 7 days if you start at any other time in your menstrual cycle. If you’re switching to Slynd from another pill brand or method of contraception check out our switching tables

What happens when you miss a pill?

Slynd is an oral contraceptive pill that must be taken daily. Slynd can be taken within a 24 hour ‘safe window’ and will still be effective, similarly to the combined pill. 

Other progestogen-only pills such as Noriday and Norgeston must be taken daily within a 3 hour window. Desogestrel based pills such as Cerelle and Desomono have a 12 hour window. 

However, for ease it’s still recommended that you take the pill at the same time every day to reduce the chances of missing your safe window.If you do exceed the 24 hour safe window for Slynd, where a pill is taken more than 24 hours late (more than 48 hours after the last pill was taken) this is termed a “missed” pill.

If any active pill is “missed”, contraceptive effectiveness may be reduced. In this case follow the instructions in the pill packet on what to do next and whether to consider emergency contraction. Watch this space, we plan to update our missed pill calculator to include Slynd next year! 

drospirenone pill safe window

What are the benefits of Slynd? 

As mentioned, Slynd has a longer safe window than other progestogen only pills, meaning there’s more time for you to remember to take your pill each day. 

In terms of non contraceptive benefits, there is some evidence to suggest Slynd could help reduce period pain. Similarly to other progesterone only pills, Slynd users who have left reviews at The Lowdown report it as good for periods.

As Slynd contains drospirenone, a newer type of progestogen with anti androgenic activity, it might help with acne or hirsutism (abnormal hair growth). Similarly, drospirenone is known to be beneficial for water retention, so may be beneficial for those who have experienced weight changes associated with this on other hormonal methods. It is important to note however that the effect of Slynd on acne, hirsutism, weight, and also mood/premenstrual syndrome has not however been specifically studied.

Other progestogen only pills are taken continuously whereas Slynd has a 4 day ‘break’ where you take dummy pills instead of pills containing hormones.It is thought that this 24/4 regimen has less of a hormone withdrawal effect compared to 21/7 regimens in combined pills. Slynd could potentially therefore improve pelvic pain, headaches, breast tenderness, and bloating symptoms associated with the pill free break on the combined pill².

What’s an alternative to Slynd?

Slynd is different to the other mini pills as it contains drospirenone which is usually found in combined pills, but not other POPs. 

The best alternatives would be the original progesterone-only pills which contain desogestrel such as Desogestrel, Hana and Desomono. There’s also the option of other progesterone-only pills which include norethisterone or levonorgestrel. 

That said, all other progesterone-only pills need to be taken daily whereas Slynd is taken for 24 days followed by 4 placebo pills. However, remember that with all other progesterone-only pills they do not have the 24 hour ‘safe period’ like Slynd does and instead have a shorter safe window.

Is Slynd safe?

Slynd, like other progestogen only pills, is safe for most people to take.

However, as drospirenone can increase potassium levels in your blood, you should discuss with your healthcare provider if you are on any medications that may also increase potassium levels. If you have medical problems such as kidney or adrenal disease, Slynd may not be suitable. 

Reminder: The progestogen-only pill will not protect you from STIs, and there is potentially a small risk of ectopic pregnancy for those using the mini pill who become  pregnant. However, the risk is lower than if you’re not using any contraception at all³.

What are the side effects of Slynd?

Possible side effects of Slynd include acne, cramping, headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, severe vaginal bleeding, weight gain and loss of sex drive according to the Slynd guidance on their website. Evidence is too limited to confirm or exclude any causative association between POP use and headache, acne, libido, weight gain or mood⁴.

Unpredictable bleeding is common with all types of POPs. With Slynd, ‘scheduled’ bleeding may occur when taking dummy pills (known as the hormone free interval) but ‘unscheduled’ bleeding or vaginal spotting is also common. 

It’s a new pill on The Lowdown site – if you’ve used Slynd and would like to share your experience please leave a review here.

 

Can you take antibiotics with Slynd?

Most (but not all) antibiotics are ‘non-enzyme-inducing’ which means your contraceptive pill will continue to work just fine, for example when taking standard antibiotics for a urine or chest infection. However ‘enzyme inducing antibiotics’ such as rifampicin or rifabutin can make some forms of contraception including the pill less effective. Discuss any new medication with your doctor or pharmacist who may advise you to use alternative contraception.

Is Slynd good for Endometriosis? 

Combined hormonal contraceptives and the hormonal coil (IUS) can be used as treatment for endometriosis and are equally effective at improving symptoms 

The progestogen-only pill, implant and injection can also help symptoms, but aren’t considered the “first line treatment” as there has been less research into these methods.

Is Slynd suitable for those with PCOS?

Slynd can be safely used by people who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as an effective method of contraception. People with PCOS may wish to use combined contraception (containing oestrogen and progestogen) however due to the benefits of this type of people in managing acne, hirsutism (abnormal hair growth) and irregular periods which are all symptoms of PCOS. 

 Can I take Slynd if I get migraines? 

Slynd, alongside other mini pills and progestogen only methods of contraception, is safe for use for those with migraines both with and without auras.

However, headaches are still a recognised side effect of progestogen-only contraception and new headaches or changes to your headaches should be discussed with your healthcare professional. 

Tags

1. Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health. FSRH Clinical Guideline: Progestogen-only Pills. August 2022, Amended November 2022.

2. Exeltis. Slynd. Accessed 20/12/22

3. NAtional Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Ectopic pregnancy: What are the causes and risk factors? November 2021

4. Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health. UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (UKMEC). 2016 

Dani handles all things community and customer support here at The Lowdown. With a background in travel, dating and food writing, she is keen to empower and support our community by being your lowdown big sister. You may recognise Dani from our Wired photoshoot and social media 👀