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Alesse

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Alesse

Alesse

Alesse Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Alesse (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive that contains estrogen and progestin. Generic versions are available. Side effects include edema, weakness, breakthrough bleeding, change in weight, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

The dose is one active tablet for 21 days and an inert tablet for 7 days, then repeat the cycle. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular adverse effects so women should not smoke when taking hormonal contraceptives. They also may cause deep vein thrombosis and should not be given to women with deep vein thrombosis. Antibiotics, anticonvulsants, protease inhibitors, and st. John's Wort may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives while itraconazole, ketoconazole, or erythromycin increase plasma levels of estrogen. Estrogens increase the levels of blood clotting factors, interfering with the action of warfarin. Estrogens should not be given to pregnant women since they may harm the fetus. Estrogens are secreted into breast milk and may affect the infant.

Our Alesse (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Alesse in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

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;
  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches;
  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet; or
  • symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, mood changes).

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, tired feeling.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Alesse (Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol) »

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Alesse FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)

SIDE EFFECTS

An increased risk of the following serious adverse reactions (see WARNINGS section for additional information) has been associated with the use of oral contraceptives: Thromboembolic and thrombotic disorders and other vascular problems (including thrombophlebitis and venous thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism, mesenteric thrombosis, arterial thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral thrombosis), carcinoma of the reproductive organs and breasts, hepatic neoplasia (including hepatic adenomas or benign liver tumors), ocular lesions (including retinal vascular thrombosis), gallbladder disease, carbohydrate and lipid effects, elevated blood pressure, and headache including migraine.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in patients receiving oral contraceptives and are believed to be drug related (alphabetically listed):

Acne
Amenorrhea
Anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, and severe
reactions with respiratory and circulatory symptoms
Breast changes: tenderness, pain, enlargement, secretion
Budd-Chiari syndrome
Cervical erosion and secretion, change in
Cholestatic jaundice
Chorea, exacerbation of
Colitis
Contact lenses, intolerance to
Corneal curvature (steepening), change in
Dizziness
Edema/fluid retention
Erythema multiforme
Erythema nodosum
Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal pain, cramps, and bloating)
Hirsutism
Infertility after discontinuation of treatment, temporary
Lactation, diminution in, when given immediately postpartum
Libido, change in
Melasma/chloasma which may persist
Menstrual flow, change in
Mood changes, including depression
Nausea
Nervousness
Pancreatitis
Porphyria, exacerbation of
Rash (allergic)
Scalp hair, loss of
Serum folate levels, decrease in
Spotting
Systemic lupus erythematosus, exacerbation of
Unscheduled bleeding
Vaginitis, including candidiasis
Varicose veins, aggravation of
Vomiting
Weight or appetite (increase or decrease), change in

The following adverse reactions have been reported in users of oral contraceptives:

Cataracts
Cystitis-like syndrome
Dysmenorrhea
Hemolytic uremic syndrome
Hemorrhagic eruption
Optic neuritis, which may lead to partial or complete loss of vision
Premenstrual syndrome
Renal function, impaired

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Alesse (Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol) »

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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.


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