"What are birth control pills and how do they work?
Birth control pills are also known as oral contraceptives (OCs) or, simply, “the pill.” They offer protection against pregnancy by blocking the union of sperm and egg, thereby prevent"...
Ortho Tri-Cyclen / Ortho-Cyclen
An increased risk of the following serious adverse reactions has been associated with the use of oral contraceptives (see WARNINGS Section).
There is evidence of an association between the following conditions and the use of oral contraceptives:
The following adverse reactions have been reported in patients receiving oral contraceptives and are believed to be drug-related:
The following adverse reactions have been reported in users of oral contraceptives and a causal association has been neither confirmed nor refuted:
Read the Ortho Tri-Cyclen / Ortho-Cyclen (norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Changes in contraceptive effectiveness associated with co-administration of other products
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, griseofulvin and bosentan.
Several of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors have been studied with co-administration of oral combination hormonal 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 oral contraceptive products may be affected with co-administration of anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Healthcare professionals should refer to the label of the individual anti-HIV protease inhibitors for further drug-drug interaction information.
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.
Concurrent use of bosentan and ethinyl estradiol containing products may result in decreased concentrations of these contraceptive hormones thereby increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy and unscheduled bleeding.
Increase in plasma levels associated with co-administered drugs
Co-administration of atorvastatin and certain oral contraceptives containing ethinyl estradiol increase AUC values for ethinyl estradiol by approximately 20%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen may increase plasma ethinyl estradiol levels, possibly by inhibition of conjugation. CYP 3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone levels.
Changes in plasma levels of co-administered drugs
Combination hormonal contraceptives containing some synthetic estrogens (e.g., ethinyl estradiol) may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds. Increased plasma concentrations of cyclosporine, prednisolone, and theophylline have been reported with concomitant administration of oral contraceptives. Decreased plasma concentrations of acetaminophen and increased clearance of temazepam, salicylic acid, morphine and clofibric acid, due to induction of conjugation, have been noted when these drugs were administered with oral contraceptives.
Combined hormonal contraceptives have been shown to significantly decrease plasma concentrations of lamotrigine when co-administered due to induction of lamotrigine glucuronidation. This may reduce seizure control; therefore, dosage adjustments of lamotrigine may be necessary.101 Healthcare professionals are advised to also refer to prescribing information of co- administered drugs for recommendations regarding management of concomitant therapy.
Interactions with Laboratory Tests
Certain endocrine and liver function tests and blood components may be affected by oral contraceptives:
- Increased prothrombin and factors VII, VIII, IX, and X; decreased antithrombin 3; increased norepinephrine-induced platelet aggregability.
- Increased thyroid binding globulin (TBG) leading to increased circulating total thyroid hormone, as measured by protein-bound iodine (PBI), T4 by column or by radioimmunoassay. Free T3 resin uptake is decreased, reflecting the elevated TBG, free T4 concentration is unaltered.
- Other binding proteins may be elevated in serum.
- Sex hormone binding globulins are increased and result in elevated levels of total circulating sex steroids; however, free or biologically active levels either decrease or remain unchanged.
- Triglycerides may be increased and levels of various other lipids and lipoproteins may be affected.
- Glucose tolerance may be decreased.
- Serum folate levels may be depressed by oral contraceptive therapy. This may be of clinical significance if a woman becomes pregnant shortly after discontinuing oral contraceptives.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/15/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Ortho Tri-Cyclen / Ortho-Cyclen Information
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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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