norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol/ferrous fumarate - oral, Estrostep Fe, Loestrin Fe (cont.)
USES: This medication is a combination of 2 hormones (an estrogen and a progestin) and is used to prevent pregnancy. It works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle. It also can work by making vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and by changing the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. If a fertilized egg does not attach to the uterus, it passes out of the body. There is a small amount of iron (ferrous fumarate) in each of the 7 inactive tablets taken during the fourth week. (The inactive pills do not contain any hormones). These tablets are meant to keep you in the habit of taking 1 tablet each day and do not have enough iron to treat iron deficiency.Besides preventing pregnancy, birth control pills have been shown to help make your periods more regular, decrease blood loss and painful periods (dysmenorrhea), and decrease ovarian cysts.Using this medication does not protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea).
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this product and each time you get a refill. The leaflet contains very important information on when to take your pills and what to do if you miss a dose. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Take this medication by mouth, usually once daily or as directed by your doctor.If you are taking the chewable tablet, you may either swallow it whole or chew it thoroughly and swallow. If you chew the tablet, drink a full glass of liquid (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) immediately afterward to make sure you swallow all the medication.Pick a time of day that is easy for you to remember, and take it at the same time each day.It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the package instructions to find the first tablet, start with the first tablet in the pack, and take them in the correct order. Do not skip any doses. Pregnancy is more likely if you miss pills, start a new pack late, or take your pill at a different time of the day than usual.Taking this medication after your evening meal or at bedtime may help if you have any stomach upset or nausea with the medication. You may choose to take this medication at another time of day that is easier for you to remember. No matter what dosing schedule you use, it is very important that you take this medication at the same time each day, 24 hours apart. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.Your pill pack contains 21 pills with active medication. It also contains 7 reminder pills with iron. Take one active pill (with hormones) once daily for 21 days in a row. Take one inactive pill (with iron) once daily for 7 days in a row after you have taken the last active pill unless otherwise directed by your doctor. You should have your period during the fourth week of the pack. After you have taken the last iron tablet in the pack, start a new pack the next day whether or not you have your period. If you do not get your period, consult your doctor.If you are taking certain medications (e.g., cefdinir, levodopa, penicillamine, quinolones such as ciprofloxacin, tetracyclines) that can interact with iron, ask your doctor whether you should throw away the reminder pills (iron tablets) each day rather than taking them. Iron can react with these medications, preventing their full absorption.If this is the first time you are using this medication and you are not switching from another form of hormonal birth control (e.g., patch, other birth control pills), take the first tablet in the pack on the first Sunday following the beginning of your period (menstruation) or on the first day of your period. If your period begins on a Sunday, begin taking this medication on that day. For the first cycle of use only, use an additional form of non-hormonal birth control (e.g., condoms, spermicide) for the first 7 days to prevent pregnancy until the medication has enough time to work. If you start on the first day of your period, you do not need to use back-up birth control the first week.Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about how to switch from other forms of hormonal birth control (e.g., patch, other birth control pills) to this product. If any of this information is unclear, consult the Patient Information Leaflet or your doctor or pharmacist.
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