May 24, 2017
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Minastrin 24 Fe

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Minastrin 24 Fe



Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Thromboembolic Disorders and Other Vascular Problems

Stop Minastrin 24 Fe if an arterial or deep venous thrombotic event (VTE) occurs. Stop Minastrin 24 Fe if there is unexplained loss of vision, proptosis, diplopia, papilledema, or retinal vascular lesions. Evaluate for retinal vein thrombosis immediately.

If feasible, stop Minastrin 24 Fe at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery or other surgeries known to have an elevated risk of VTE.

Start Minastrin 24 Fe no earlier than 4 weeks after delivery, in women who are not breastfeeding. The risk of postpartum VTE decreases after the third postpartum week, whereas the risk of ovulation increases after the third postpartum week.

The use of COCs increases the risk of VTE. However, pregnancy increases the risk of VTE as much or more than the use of COCs. The risk of VTE in women using COCs is 3 to 9 per 10,000 woman-years. The risk of VTE is highest during the first year of use of a COC. The risk of thromboembolic disease due to oral contraceptives gradually disappears after COC use is discontinued.

Use of COCs also increases the risk of arterial thromboses such as strokes and myocardial infarctions, especially in women with other risk factors for these events. COCs have been shown to increase both the relative and attributable risks of cerebrovascular events (thrombotic and hemorrhagic strokes), although, in general, the risk is greatest in older ( > 35 years of age), hypertensive women who also smoke. COCs also increase the risk for stroke in women with underlying risk factors.

Use COCs with caution in women with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Liver Disease

Impaired Liver Function

Do not use Minastrin 24 Fe in women with acute viral hepatitis or severe (decompensated) cirrhosis of liver [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal and COC causation has been excluded. Discontinue Minastrin 24 Fe if jaundice develops.

Liver Tumors

Minastrin 24 Fe is contraindicated in women with benign and malignant liver tumors [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Hepatic adenomas are associated with COC use. An estimate of the attributable risk is 3.3 cases per 100,000 COC users. Rupture of hepatic adenomas may cause death through intra-abdominal hemorrhage.

Studies have shown an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in long-term ( > 8 years) COC users. However, the attributable risk of liver cancers in COC users is less than one case per million users.

High Blood Pressure

Minastrin 24 Fe is contraindicated in women with uncontrolled hypertension or hypertension with vascular disease [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. For women with well-controlled hypertension, monitor blood pressure and stop Minastrin 24 Fe if blood pressure rises significantly.

An increase in blood pressure has been reported in women taking COCs, and this increase is more likely in older women with extended duration of use. The incidence of hypertension increases with increasing concentrations of progestin.

Gallbladder Disease

Studies suggest a small increased relative risk of developing  gallbladderdisease among COC users. Use of COCs may also worsen existing gallbladder disease.

A past history of COC-related cholestasis predicts an increased risk with subsequent COC use. Women with a history of pregnancy-related cholestasis may be at an increased risk for COC-related cholestasis.

Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolic Effects

Carefully monitor prediabetic and diabetic women who are taking Minastrin 24 Fe. COCs may decrease glucose tolerance in a dose-related fashion.

Consider alternative contraception for women with uncontrolled dyslipidemias. A small proportion of women will have adverse lipid changes while on COCs.

Women with hypertriglyceridemia, or a family history thereof, may be at an increased risk of pancreatitis when using COCs.


If a woman taking Minastrin 24 Fe develops new headaches that are recurrent, persistent, or severe, evaluate the cause and discontinue Minastrin 24 Fe if indicated.

Consider discontinuation of Minastrin 24 Fe in the case of increased frequency or severity of migraine during COC use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Bleeding Irregularities and Amenorrhea

Unscheduled Bleeding and Spotting

Unscheduled (breakthrough or intracyclic) bleeding and spotting sometimes occur in patients on COCs, especially during the first three months of use. If bleeding persists or occurs after previously regular cycles, check for causes such as pregnancy or malignancy. If pathology and pregnancy are excluded, bleeding irregularities may resolve over time or with a change to a different COC.

Based on patient diaries from a clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of a 24-day regimen of norethindrone acetate 1 mg/ethinyl estradiol 0.020 mg tablets, 24-35% of women experienced unscheduled bleeding per cycle. A total of 10 subjects out of 743 (1.3%) discontinued due to bleeding or spotting.

Amenorrhea and Oligomenorrhea

Women who are not pregnant and use Minastrin 24 Fe may experience amenorrhea. In the clinical trial with a 24-day regimen of norethindrone acetate 1 mg/ethinyl estradiol 0.020 mg tablets, 22 to 36% of the women using norethindrone acetate 1 mg/ethinyl estradiol 0.020 mg tablets experienced amenorrhea in at least one of 6 cycles of use. Some women may experience post-pill amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea, especially when such a condition was preexistent.

If scheduled (withdrawal) bleeding does not occur, consider the possibility of pregnancy. If the patient has not adhered to the prescribed dosing schedule (missed one or more active capsules or started taking them on a day later than she should have), consider the possibility of pregnancy at the time of the first missed period and take appropriate diagnostic measures. If the patient has adhered to the prescribed regimen and misses two consecutive periods, rule out pregnancy.

COC Use before or during Early Pregnancy

Extensive epidemiologic studies have revealed no increased risk of birth defects in women who have used oral contraceptives prior to pregnancy. Studies also do not suggest a teratogenic effect, particularly in so far as cardiac anomalies and limb reduction defects are concerned, when oral contraceptives are taken inadvertently during early pregnancy. Discontinue Minastrin 24 Fe if pregnancy is confirmed.

Administration of oral contraceptives to induce withdrawal bleeding should not be used as a test for pregnancy [see Use in Specific Populations].


Carefully observe women with a history of depression and discontinue Minastrin 24 Fe if depression recurs to a serious degree.

Carcinoma of the Breast and Cervix

Minastrin 24 Fe is contraindicated in women who currently have or have had breast cancer because breast cancer may be hormonally-sensitive. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].

There is substantial evidence that COCs do not increase the incidence of breast cancer. Although some past studies have suggested that COCs might increase the incidence of breast cancer, more recent studies have not confirmed such findings.

Some studies suggest that COCs are associated with an increase in the risk of cervical cancer or intraepithelial neoplasia. However, there is controversy about the extent to which these findings may be due to differences in sexual behavior and other factors.

Effect on Binding Globulins

The estrogen component of COCs may raise the serum concentrations of thyroxine-binding globulin, sex hormone-binding globulin and cortisol-binding globulin. The dose of replacement thyroid hormone or cortisol therapy may need to be increased.


A woman who is taking COCs should have a yearly visit with her healthcare provider for a blood pressure check and for other indicated healthcare.

Hereditary Angioedema

In women with hereditary angioedema, exogenous estrogens may induce or exacerbate symptoms of angioedema.


Chloasma may occasionally occur, especially in women with a history of chloasma gravidarum. Women with a tendency to chloasma should avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation while taking Minastrin 24 Fe.

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION). Counsel patients on the following information:

  • Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from COC use, and women who are over 35 years old and smoke should not use COCs.
  • Increased risk of VTE compared to non-users of COCs is greatest after initially starting a COC or restarting (following a 4-week or greater pill-free interval) the same or a different COC.
  • Minastrin 24 Fe does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • The WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS associated with COCs.
  • Minastrin 24 Fe is not to be used during pregnancy; if pregnancy occurs during use of Minastrin 24 Fe, instruct the patient to stop further intake.
  • Take one capsule daily by mouth at the same time every day. Instruct patients what to do in the event pills are missed. See “What to Do if You Miss Capsules” section in FDA-approved patient labeling.
  • Use a back-up or alternative method of contraception when enzyme inducers are used with Minastrin 24 Fe.
  • COCs may reduce breast milk production. This is less likely to occur if breastfeeding is well established.
  • Women who start COCs postpartum, and who have not yet had a period, should use an additional method of contraception until they have taken a yellow capsule for 7 consecutive days.
  • Amenorrhea may occur. Rule out pregnancy in the event of amenorrhea in two or more consecutive cycles.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

[See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use in Specific Populations.]

Use In Specific Populations


There is little or no increased risk of birth defects in women who inadvertently use COCs during early pregnancy. Epidemiologic studies and meta-analyses have not found an increased risk of genital or non-genital birth defects (including cardiac anomalies and limb reduction defects) following exposure to low dose COCs prior to conception or during early pregnancy.

The administration of COCs to induce withdrawal bleeding should not be used as a test for pregnancy. COCs should not be used during pregnancy to treat threatened or habitual abortion.

Nursing Mothers

When possible, advise the nursing mother to use other forms of contraception until she has weaned her child. COCs can reduce milk production in breastfeeding mothers. This is less likely to occur once breastfeeding is well-established; however, it can occur at any time in some women. Small amounts of oral contraceptive steroids and/or metabolites are present in breast milk.

Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy of Minastrin 24 Fe have been established in women of reproductive age. Efficacy is expected to be the same in postpubertal adolescents under the age of 18 years as for users 18 years and older. Use of this product before menarche is not indicated.

Geriatric Use

Minastrin 24 Fe has not been studied in postmenopausal women and is not indicated in this population.

Renal Impairment

The pharmacokinetics of Minastrin 24 Fe has not been studied in subjects with renal impairment.

Hepatic Impairment

The pharmacokinetics of Minastrin 24 Fe has not been studied in subjects with hepatic impairment. However, steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with hepatic impairment. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal and COC causation has been excluded [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Body Mass Index

The safety and efficacy of Minastrin 24 Fe in women with a body mass index (BMI) > 35 kg/m² has not been evaluated [see Clinical Studies].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 5/6/2013


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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