May 22, 2017
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(desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) Tablets

Patients should be counseled that this product does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Cyclessa® (desogestrel ethinyl estradiol tablets) (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) Tablets are a triphasic oral contraceptive containing two active components, desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol. Each 28-day treatment cycle pack consists of three active dosing phases: 7 light yellow tablets containing 0.100 mg desogestrel (13-ethyl-11-methylene-18,19-dinor-17α -pregn-4-en-20-yn-17-ol) and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol (19-nor-17α -pregna-1,3,5(10)-trien-20-yne-3, 17-diol); 7 orange tablets containing 0.125 mg desogestrel and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol, and 7 red tablets containing 0.150 mg desogestrel and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol. Inactive ingredients include vitamin E, pregelatinized starch, stearic acid, lactose monohydrate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, talc, yellow ferric oxide (in light yellow and orange tablets), and red ferric oxide (in orange and red tablets). Cyclessa® (desogestrel ethinyl estradiol tablets) also contains 7 green tablets with the following inert ingredients: lactose monohydrate, corn starch, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, FD&C Blue No. 2 aluminum lake, yellow ferric oxide, and talc. The molecular weights for desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol are 310.48 and 296.40, respectively. The structural formulas are as follows:

Cyclessa (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) Structural Formula Illustration

Cyclessa (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) Structural Formula Illustration

What are the possible side effects of birth control pills?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using birth control pills and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden and severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • sudden cough, wheezing, rapid...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Cyclessa »

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/28/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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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