Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone contains a combination of female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone are used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to treat severe acne.
Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, or if you miss two menstrual periods in a row. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least 4 weeks before taking birth control pills (6 weeks if you are breast-feeding).
Do not use this medication if you have:
a history of a stroke, blood clot, or circulation problems;
a hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer;
abnormal vaginal bleeding;
liver disease, liver cancer, or a history of jaundice caused by birth control pills.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions.
high blood pressure or a history of heart disease;
high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, or diabetes;
migraine headaches or a history of depression; or
a history of breast cancer or an abnormal mammogram.
The hormones in birth control pills can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. This medication may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not smoke while using birth control pills, especially if you are older than 35. Smoking can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack caused by birth control pills.
Birth control pills will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases—including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding.
Missing a pill increases your risk of becoming pregnant.
If you miss one "active" pill, take two pills on the day that you remember. Then take one pill per day for the rest of the pack.
If you miss two "active" pills in a row in week one or two, take two pills per day for two days in a row. Then take one pill per day for the rest of the pack. Use back-up birth control for at least 7 days following the missed pills.
If you miss two "active" pills in a row in week three, or if you miss three pills in a row during any of the first 3 weeks, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new one the same day if you are a Day 1 starter. If you are a Sunday starter, keep taking a pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new one that day.
If you miss three "active" pills in a row during any of the first 3 weeks, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack on the same day if you are a Day 1 starter. If you are a Sunday starter, keep taking a pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new one that day.
If you miss two or more pills, you may not have a period during the month. If you miss a period for two months in a row, call your doctor because you might be pregnant.
If you miss any reminder pills, throw them away and keep taking one pill per day until the pack is empty. You do not need back-up birth control if you miss a reminder pill.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
sudden headache, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling; or
nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include:
mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps;
breast pain, tenderness, or swelling;
freckles or darkening of facial skin;
increased hair growth, loss of scalp hair;
changes in weight or appetite;
problems with contact lenses;
vaginal itching or discharge;
changes in your menstrual periods, decreased sex drive; or
headache, nervousness, dizziness.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Some drugs can make ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Before using ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ascorbic acid (vitamin C);
theophylline (Respbid, Theo-Dur);
St. John's wort;
a barbiturate sedative such as secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton); or
HIV or AIDS medications.
There may be other drugs not listed that can affect this medication. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
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Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04