"Nov. 20, 2012 -- Oral contraceptives should be made available without a prescription to reduce unintended pregnancies, according to a newly published opinion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
- Menstrual irregularity is the most frequently reported side effect.
- Frequent and irregular bleeding are common, while long duration of bleeding episodes and amenorrhea are less likely.
- Headache, breast tenderness, nausea, and dizziness are increased among progestin-only oral contraceptive users in some studies.
- Androgenic side effects such as acne, hirsutism, and weight gain occur rarely.
Read the Nor-QD (norethindrone) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »
Change in contraceptive effectiveness associated with co-administration of other products:
- Anti-infective agents and anticonvulsants. Contraceptive effectiveness may be reduced when hormonal contraceptives are co-administered with antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and other drugs that increase the metabolism of contraceptive steroids. This could result in unintended pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding. Examples include rifampin, barbiturates, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, and griseofulvin.
- Anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Several of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors have been studied with co-administration of oral contraceptives; significant changes (increase and decrease) in the plasma levels of the estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases. The safety and efficacy of OC products may be affected with the co-administration of anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Health care providers should refer to the label of the individual anti-HIV protease inhibitors for further drug-drug interaction information.
- Herbal products. Herbal products containing St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) may induce hepatic enzymes(cytochrome P450) and p-glycoprotein transporter and may reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive steroids. This may also result in breakthrough bleeding.
Interactions with laboratory tests
The following endocrine tests may be affected by progestin-only oral contraceptive use:
- Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations may be decreased.
- Thyroxine concentrations may be decreased, due to a decrease in thyroid binding globulin (TBG).
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/28/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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