GENERIC NAME: ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES
WARNING: Smoking cigarettes while using this medication increases your chance of having heart problems. Do not smoke while using this medication. The risk of heart problems increases with age (especially in women greater than 35 years of age) and with frequent smoking (15 cigarettes per day or greater).
USES: This medication is used to prevent pregnancy or to regulate your menstrual cycle. Certain brands of birth control pills may be used for treating acne or as a "morning after" pill for emergency contraception. Consult your doctor or pharmacist. Use of this medication does not protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., HIV, gonorrhea).
HOW TO USE: Take this medication with food or immediately after a meal to prevent stomach upset. Try to take this medication at the same time each day. This may help you to remember to take it. Learn proper use of your particular brand of medication. Follow your dosing schedule carefully. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Use a supplemental form of birth control during the first week of taking this medication since it takes a while to be effective. Follow your doctor's directions exactly if this drug is being used as a "morning after" pill.
SIDE EFFECTS: This medication may cause dizziness, headache, lightheadedness, stomach upset, bloating, or nausea. If these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor. Notify your doctor if you experience: severe depression, groin or calf pain, sudden severe headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, lumps in the breast, weakness or tingling in the arms or legs, yellowing of the eyes or skin. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
PRECAUTIONS: Before you take this medication, tell your doctor your entire medical history, including family medical history, especially: asthma, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, stroke, history of jaundice (yellowing skin/eyes) or high blood pressure during pregnancy, excessive weight gain or fluid retention during menstrual cycle, blood clots, heart attack, seizures, migraine headaches, breast cancer, high blood level of cholesterol or lipids (fats), diabetes, depression. Depending on strength, this drug may cause a patchy, darkening of the skin on the face (melasma). Higher strengths are more likely to cause melasma. Sunlight may intensify this darkening and you may need to avoid prolonged sun exposure and sunlamps. Consult your doctor regarding use of sunscreens and protective clothing. It may take a long time for you to become pregnant after you stop taking birth control pills. Consult your doctor. Do not smoke cigarettes. Birth-control pills slightly increase your risk of strokes, blood clots, high blood pressure, heart attacks, gallbladder disease, vision problems, and liver tumors. Cigarette smoking (especially 15 or more cigarettes daily) and age (women older than 35/smokers or 40/nonsmokers years of age) further increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the patient labeling which explains these risks in more detail. Consult your doctor for any questions, including possible use in nonsmokers over 40 years of age. If you are near-sighted or wear contact lenses, you may develop vision problems. Also, your tolerance of the lenses may decrease. Contact your eye doctor if these problems occur. If you will be having surgery, be confined to a chair or bed for a long period of time (e.g., a long plane flight), or have recently delivered a baby, notify your doctor beforehand. Special precautions may need to be taken in these circumstances while you are taking this drug. This drug must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. This medication passes into breast milk. This may affect milk production and may have harmful effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Certain drugs can decrease the effectiveness of combination-type birth control pills by decreasing the amount of birth control pill hormones in your system (impaired enterohepatic recirculation or hepatic induction). This can result in pregnancy. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details. Drugs that may cause this effect include: many antibiotics (e.g., cephalosporins, chloramphenicol, macrolides, penicillins, tetracyclines, sulfas), aprepitant, bexarotene, bosentan, dapsone, griseofulvin, certain HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., amprenavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir), modafinil, nevirapine, rifamycins (e.g., rifampin), many seizure medications (e.g., barbiturates, carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate), St. John's wort. Ask your doctor if you should use additional reliable birth control methods while taking any of the drugs mentioned above while also taking birth control pills. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal medications you may use, especially of: thyroid hormone drugs, certain benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam, chlordiazepoxide), prednisone-like drugs, certain antidepressants (e.g., tricyclics), beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol), "blood thinners" (anticoagulants such as warfarin), insulin. This product can affect the results of certain lab tests (e.g., thyroid). Inform all laboratory personnel that you use this drug. Birth control pills may significantly intensify the effects of alcohol. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about this. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents should call their local poison control center directly. Symptoms of overdose may include nausea and vomiting. Females may experience vaginal bleeding.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You should have a complete physical examination that includes blood pressure measurements and breast/pelvic examinations at regular intervals (e.g., once a year) or as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions on how to examine your own breasts and report any lumps immediately. You should also be regularly screened for cervical cancer (e.g., Pap test). Consult your doctor for more details. A manufacturer's fact sheet about this drug should be dispensed with each prescription. Read the information carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you may have.
MISSED DOSE: Missed dose advice differs and depends on the brand used, and the number of doses missed. Refer to the product package information for advice on missed doses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (between 15 and 30 degrees C) away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top Oral Contraceptives, Birth Control Pills Related Articles
Birth Control MethodsWhat are your birth control options? Learn about birth control side effects and effectiveness. Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot, implant, patch and more.
Think You Know Birth Control QuizWhat is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal DripChronic rhinitis and post-nasal drip symptoms include an itchy, runny nose, sneezing, itchy ears, eyes, and throat. Seasonal allergic rhinitis (also called hay fever) usually is caused by pollen in the air. Perennial allergic rhinitis is a type of chronic rhinitis and is a year-round problem, often caused by indoor allergens, such as dust, animal dander, and pollens that may exist at the time. Treatment of chronic rhinitis and post nasal drip are dependent upon the type of rhinitis condition.
Contraceptive Measures after Unprotected SexContraceptive birth control measures after unprotected sex include: emergency hormonal contraception (the morning after pill), and emergency IUD. The morning after pill is not meant to be a long-term contraception. Once the emergency is over, a woman should consult with her physician so that an appropriate contraceptive method can be chosen if the woman continues to be sexually active. The emergency IUD can provide a woman with long-term contraception. Emergency IUD insertion does however, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder. Endometriosis may not produce any symptoms, but when it does the most common symptom is pelvic pain that worsens just prior to menstruation and improves at the end of the menstrual period. Other symptoms of endometriosis include pain during sex, pain with pelvic examinations, cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination, and infertility.
Treatment of endometriosis can be with medication or surgery.
Endometriosis QuizEndometriosis is a common gynecological condition. Take this quiz to learn what happens when a woman has endometriosis as well as causes, treatments, and risks.
Hormonal Methods of Birth ControlThere are several different hormonal methods of birth control. The hormones can be estrogen and/or progesterone. The hormones can be taken by mouth, implanted into body tissue, absorbed from a patch on the skin, injected under the skin, or placed in the vagina. Common types of hormonal birth control include: "The Pill" (oral contraceptives), injection (Depo-Provera, Lunelle), the patch (Ortho-Evra), and the vaginal ring (Nuvaring).
Liver DiseaseLiver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
ParathyroidectomyParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and SignsPregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms include missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Sex-Drive KillersNoticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can cause low sex drive in men and women.
Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the Candida fungus. Symptoms of thrush include pain or difficulty swallowing, a feeling that food gets stuck in the throat, and fever.
Triglycerides (Tests and Lowering Your Triglyceride Levels)Triglycerides are a common form of fat that we digest. Triglycerides are the main ingredient in animal fats and vegetable oils. Elevated levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, fatty liver disease, and pancreatitis. Elevated levels of triglycerides are also associated with diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, and medications (for example, diuretics, birth control pills, and beta blockers). Dietary changes, and medication if necessary can help lower triglyceride blood levels.