Recommended Topic Related To:

Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo

"Oct. 18, 2012 -- While the use of long-acting intrauterine devices (IUDs) is increasing, 1 in 9 women at risk for unintended pregnancies is not using any birth control, according to a new government report.

Researchers from the Natio"...

Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo

PATIENT INFORMATION

BRIEF SUMMARY PATIENT PACKAGE INSERT

Oral contraceptives, also known as "birth control pills" or "the pill," are taken to prevent pregnancy. When taken correctly without missing any pills, oral contraceptives are highly effective; however the typical failure rate of large numbers of pill users is 5% per year when women who miss pills are included. Forgetting to take pills considerably increases the chances of pregnancy. For most women oral contraceptives are also free of serious or unpleasant side effects.

For the majority of women, oral contraceptives can be taken safely. But there are some women who are at high risk of developing certain serious diseases that can be fatal or may cause temporary or permanent disability. The risks associated with taking oral contraceptives increase significantly if you:

  • smoke
  • have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol
  • have or have had clotting disorders, heart attack, stroke, angina pectoris, cancer of the breast or sex organs, jaundice or malignant or benign liver tumors

Although cardiovascular disease risks may be increased with oral contraceptive use after age 40 in healthy, non-smoking women (even with the newer low-dose formulations), there are also greater potential health risks associated with pregnancy in older women. Yo u should not take the pill if you suspect you are pregnant or have unexplained vaginal bleeding.

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases with age and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day) and is quite marked in women over 35 years of age. Women who use oral contraceptives are strongly advised not to smoke.

Most side effects of the pill are not serious. The most common such effects are nausea, vomiting, bleeding between menstrual periods, weight gain, breast tenderness, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. These side effects, especially nausea and vomiting, may subside within the first three months of use. The serious side effects of the pill occur very infrequently, especially if you are in good health and are young. However, you should know that the following medical conditions have been associated with or made worse by the pill:

  1. Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), stoppage or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (stroke), blockage of blood vessels in the heart (heart attack or angina pectoris) or other organs of the body. As mentioned above, smoking increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes and subsequent serious medical consequences.
  2. In rare cases, oral contraceptives can cause benign but dangerous liver tumors. These benign liver tumors can rupture and cause fatal internal bleeding. In addition, some studies report an increased risk of developing liver cancer. However, liver cancers are rare.
  3. High blood pressure, although blood pressure usually returns to normal when the pill is stopped.

The symptoms associated with these serious side effects are discussed in the detailed leaflet given to you with your supply of pills. Notify your healthcare professional if you notice any unusual physical disturbances while taking the pill. In addition, drugs such as rifampin, as well as some anti-convulsants and some antibiotics, and herbal preparations containing St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) may decrease oral contraceptive effectiveness.

Various studies give conflicting reports on the relationship between breast cancer and oral contraceptive use. Oral contraceptive use may slightly increase your chance of having breast cancer diagnosed, particularly after using hormonal contraceptives at a younger age. After you stop using hormonal contraceptives, the chances of having breast cancer diagnosed begin to go back down. You should have regular breast examinations by a healthcare professional and examine your own breasts monthly. Tell your healthcare professional if you have a family history of breast cancer or if you have had breast nodules or an abnormal mammogram. Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use oral contraceptives because breast cancer is usually a hormone-sensitive tumor.

Some studies have found an increase in the incidence of cancer of the cervix in women who use oral contraceptives. However, this finding may be related to factors other than the use of oral contraceptives. There is insufficient evidence to rule out the possibility that the pill may cause such cancers. Taking the combination pill provides some important non-contraceptive benefits. These include less painful menstruation, less menstrual blood loss and anemia, fewer pelvic infections, and fewer cancers of the ovary and the lining of the uterus.

Be sure to discuss any medical condition you may have with your healthcare professional. Your healthcare professional will take a medical and family history before prescribing oral contraceptives and will examine you. The physical examination may be delayed to another time if you request it and the healthcare professional believes that it is a good medical practice to postpone it. Yo u should be reexamined at least once a year while taking oral contraceptives. Your pharmacist should have given you the detailed patient information labeling which gives you further information which you should read and discuss with your healthcare professional.

ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® Lo (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. Oral contraceptives do not protect against transmission of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis.

HOW TO TAKE THE PILL

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS:

  1. BE SURE TO READ THESE DIRECTIONS:
    Before you start taking your pills.
    Anytime you are not sure what to do.
  2.  THE RIGHT WAY TO TAKE THE PILL IS TO TAKE ONE PILL EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME.
    If you miss pills you could get pregnant. This includes starting the pack late.
    The more pills you miss, the more likely you are to get pregnant.
  3. MANY WOMEN HAVE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, OR MAY FEEL SICK TO THEIR STOMACH DURING THE FIRST 1-3 PACKS OF PILLS. If you feel sick to your stomach, do not stop taking the pill. The problem will usually go away. If it doesn't go away, check with your healthcare professional.
  4. MISSING PILLS CAN ALSO CAUSE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, even when you make up these missed pills.
    On the days you take 2 pills to make up for missed pills, you could also feel a little sick to your stomach.
  5. IF YOU HAVE VOMITING OR DIARRHEA, or IF YOU TAKE SOME MEDICINES, including some antibiotics, your pills may not work as well.
    Use a back-up method (such as condoms or spermicides) until you check with your healthcare professional.
  6. IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING TO TAKE THE PILL, talk to your healthcare professional about how to make pill-taking easier or about using another method of birth control.
  7. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ARE UNSURE ABOUT THE INFORMATION IN THIS LEAFLET, call your healthcare professional.

BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS

  1. DECIDE WHAT TIME OF DAY YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR PILL. It is important to take it at about the same time every day.
  2. The 28-pill pack has 21 white, light blue, and dark blue "active" pills (with hormones) to take for 3 weeks. This is followed by 1 week of dark green "reminder" pills (without hormones).
  3. ALSO FIND:
    1) where on the pack to start taking pills,
    2) in what order to take the pills.
    CHECK PICTURE OF PILL PACK AND ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THIS PACKAGE IN THE BRIEF SUMMARY PATIENT PACKAGE INSERT.
  4. BE SURE YOU HAVE READY AT ALL TIMES:
    ANOTHER KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL (such as condoms or spermicide) to use as a back-up method in case you miss pills.
    AN EXTRA, FULL PILL PACK.

WHEN TO START THE FIRST PACK OF PILLS

Yo u have a choice of which day to start taking your first pack of pills. ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® Lo is available in the DIALPAK® Tablet Dispenser which is preset for a Sunday Start. Day 1 Start is also provided. Decide with your healthcare professional which is the best day for you. Pick a time of day that will be easy to remember.

SUNDAY START:

Take the first white "active" pill of the first pack on the Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start the pack that same day.

Use another method of birth control (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method if you have sex anytime from the Sunday you start your first pack until the next Sunday (7 days).

DAY 1 START:

Take the first white "active" pill of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.

Yo u will not need to use a back-up method of birth control, since you are starting the pill at the beginning of your period.

WHAT TO DO DURING THE MONTH

  1. Take One Pill At The Same Time Every Day Until The Pack Is Empty
    Do not skip pills even if you are spotting or bleeding between monthly periods or feel sick to your stomach (nausea).
    Do not skip pills even if you do not have sex very often.
  2. When You Finish A Pack Or Switch Your Brand Of Pills
    Start the next pack on the day after your last dark green "reminder" pill. Do not wait any days between packs.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS PILLS

If you MISS 1 white, light blue or dark blue "active" pill:

  1. Take it as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at your regular time. This means you may take 2 pills in 1 day.
  2. You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you have sex.

If you MISS 2 white or light blue "active" pills in a row in WEEK 1 OR WEEK 2 of your pack:

  1. Take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day.
  2. Then take 1 pill a day until you finish the pack.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you MISS 2 dark blue "active" pills in a row in THE 3RD WEEK:

  1.  If you are a Sunday Starter:
    Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
  2. You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare professional because you might be pregnant.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you MISS 3 OR MORE white, light blue or dark blue "active" pills in a row (during the first 3 weeks):

  1. If you are a Sunday Starter:
    Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
  2. You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare professional because you might be pregnant.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you forget any of the 7 dark green "reminder" pills in Week 4:
THROW AWAY the pills you missed.
Keep taking 1 pill each day until the pack is empty.
You do not need a back-up method.

FINALLY, IF YOU ARE STILL NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE PILLS YOU HAVE MISSED:

Use a BACK-UP METHOD anytime you have sex.
KEEP TAKING ONE "ACTIVE" PILL EACH DAY until you can reach your healthcare professional.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING YOUR DIALPAK® TABLET DISPENSER

Please Read Me!

-- Sunday Start or -- Day 1 Start

There are two ways to start taking birth control pills: Sunday Start or Day 1 Start. Your healthcare provider will tell you which to use.

Save these instructions.

Instructions - illustration 1 If this is the first time you are taking birth control pills, or if you have not taken birth control pills for 10 days or more, your first step is to wait until the first day you get your menstrual period. Then, follow these instructions for either Sunday Start or Day 1 Start.
Instructions - illustration 2 When you get your period:
•  You will use a Sunday Start if your doctor told you to take your first pill on a Sunday. Take pill "1" on the Sunday after your period starts.If your period starts on a Sunday, take pill "1" that day.
•  You will use a Day 1 Start if your doctor told you to take pill "1" on the first day of your period.
Instructions - illustration 3 SET THE DAY:
---Sunday Start: the arrow on your empty Dialpak should point to SU (Sunday).
---Day 1 Start: turn the dial on your empty Dialpak until the arrow points to the first day of your period (if your period starts on Tuesday, the arrow will point to TU).
Instructions - illustration 4 Insert the new refill by lining up the "V" shape on the refill with the "V" shape at the top of your Dialpak. Snap the refill in place. Yo u are ready to take pill "1." Yo u should always begin your pill cycle with pill "1," as shown on the inner part of the refill ring.
Instructions - illustration 5 Remove pill "1" by pushing down on the pill. The pill will come out through a hole in the back of the Dialpak.
Instructions - illustration 6 Swallow the pill. Yo u will take one pill each day. If you use a Sunday Start and you are taking the pill for the FIRST TIME, YOU MUST USE A BACK-UP METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL FOR THE FIRST 7 DAYS. If you use a Day 1 Start, you are protected from becoming pregnant as soon as you take your first pill.
Instructions - illustration 7 Wait 24 hours to take your next pill. To take pill "2," turn the dial on your Dialpak to the next day. Continue to take one pill each day until all the pills have been taken.
Instructions - illustration 8 Take your pill at the same time every day. It is important to take the correct pill each day and not miss any pills. To help you remember, take your pill at the same time as another daily activity, like turning off your alarm clock or brushing your teeth.
Instructions - illustration 9 When your refill is empty, keep your Dialpak case.
You will start a new refill on the day after pill "28."
Instructions - illustration 10 Turn the dial to the pill "1" position to remove the empty refill and insert a new refill. THE FIRST PILL IN EVERY REFILL WILL ALWAYS BE TAKEN ON THE SAME DAY OF THE WEEK, NO MATTER WHEN YOUR NEXT PERIOD STARTS.

DETAILED PATIENT LABELING

PLEASE NOTE: This labeling is revised from time to time as important new medical information becomes available. Therefore, please review this labeling carefully.

ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® Lo Tablets (norgestimate, ethinyl estradiol)

Each white tablet contains 0.180 mg norgestimate and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol. Each light blue tablet contains 0.215 mg norgestimate and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol. Each dark blue tablet contains 0.250 mg norgestimate and 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol. Each dark green tablet contains inert ingredients.

INTRODUCTION

Any woman who considers using oral contraceptives (the birth control pill or the pill) should understand the benefits and risks of using this form of birth control. This patient labeling will give you much of the information you will need to make this decision and will also help you determine if you are at risk of developing any of the serious side effects of the pill. It will tell you how to use the pill properly so that it will be as effective as possible. However, this labeling is not a replacement for a careful discussion between you and your healthcare professional. Yo u should discuss the information provided in this labeling with him or her, both when you first start taking the pill and during your revisits. Yo u should also follow your healthcare professional's advice with regard to regular check-ups while you are on the pill.

EFFECTIVENESS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES FOR CONTRACEPTION

Oral contraceptives or "birth control pills" or "the pill" are used to prevent pregnancy and are more effective than most other non-surgical methods of birth control. When taken correctly without missing any pills, oral contraceptives are highly effective; however, typical failure rates are 5% per year. The chance of becoming pregnant increases with each missed pill during a menstrual cycle.

In comparison, typical failure rates for other non-surgical methods of birth control during the first year of use are as follows:

Implant: < 1%

Injection: < 1%

IUD: 1 to 2%

Diaphragm with spermicides: 20%

Spermicides alone: 26%

Vaginal sponge: 20 to 40%

Female sterilization: < 1%

Male sterilization: < 1%

Cervical Cap with spermicide: 20 to 40%

Condom alone (male): 14%

Condom alone (female): 21%

Periodic abstinence: 25%

No methods: 85%

Withdrawal: 19%

WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases with age and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day) and is quite marked in women over 35 years of age. Women who use oral contraceptives are strongly advised not to smoke.

Some women should not use the pill. Yo u should not use the pill if you have any of the following conditions:

  • A history of heart attack or stroke
  • Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), or eyes
  • A history of blood clots in the deep veins of your legs
  • Chest pain (angina pectoris)
  • Known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the uterus, cervix or vagina
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding (until a diagnosis is reached by your healthcare professional)
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill
  • Liver tumor (benign or cancerous)
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • If you plan to have surgery with prolonged bedrest

Tell your healthcare professional if you have ever had any of these conditions. Your healthcare professional can recommend a safer method of birth control.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE TAKING ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Tell your healthcare professional if you have or have had:

  • Breast nodules, fibrocystic disease of the breast, an abnormal breast x-ray or mammogram
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraine or other headaches or epilepsy
  • Mental depression
  • Gallbladder, liver, heart or kidney disease
  • History of scanty or irregular menstrual periods

Women with any of these conditions should be checked often by their healthcare professional if they choose to use oral contraceptives.

Also, be sure to inform your healthcare professional if you smoke or are on any medications.

RISKS OF TAKING ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

1.  Risk of Developing Blood Clots

Blood clots and blockage of blood vessels are one of the most serious side effects of taking oral contraceptives and can cause death or serious disability. In particular, a clot in the legs can cause thrombophlebitis and a clot that travels to the lungs can cause a sudden blocking of the vessel carrying blood to the lungs. Rarely, clots occur in the blood vessels of the eye and may cause blindness, double vision, or impaired vision.

If you take oral contraceptives and need elective surgery, need to stay in bed for a prolonged illness or injury or have recently delivered a baby, you may be at risk of developing blood clots. Yo u should consult your healthcare professional about stopping oral contraceptives four weeks before surgery and not taking oral contraceptives for two weeks after surgery or during bed rest. Yo u should also not take oral contraceptives soon after delivery of a baby. It is advisable to wait for at least four weeks after delivery if you are not breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, you should wait until you have weaned your child before using the pill. (See also the section on Breastfeeding in General Precautions.)

The risk of circulatory disease in oral contraceptive users may be higher in users of high-dose pills and may be greater with longer duration of oral contraceptive use. In addition, some of these increased risks may continue for a number of years after stopping oral contraceptives. The risk of abnormal blood clotting increases with age in both users and nonusers of oral contraceptives, but the increased risk from the oral contraceptive appears to be present at all ages. For women aged 20 to 44 it is estimated that about 1 in 2,000 using oral contraceptives will be hospitalized each year because of abnormal clotting. Among nonusers in the same age group, about 1 in 20,000 would be hospitalized each year. For oral contraceptive users in general, it has been estimated that in women between the ages of 15 and 34 the risk of death due to a circulatory disorder is about 1 in 12,000 per year, whereas for nonusers the rate is about 1 in 50,000 per year. In the age group 35 to 44, the risk is estimated to be about 1 in 2,500 per year for oral contraceptive users and about 1 in 10,000 per year for nonusers.

2.  Heart Attacks and Strokes

Oral contraceptives may increase the tendency to develop strokes (stoppage or rupture of blood vessels in the brain) and angina pectoris and heart attacks (blockage of blood vessels in the heart). Any of these conditions can cause death or serious disability.

Smoking greatly increases the possibility of suffering heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, smoking and the use of oral contraceptives greatly increase the chances of developing and dying of heart disease.

3.  Gallbladder Disease

Oral contraceptive users probably have a greater risk than nonusers of having gallbladder disease, although this risk may be related to pills containing high doses of estrogens.

4.  Liver Tumors

In rare cases, oral contraceptives can cause benign but dangerous liver tumors. These benign liver tumors can rupture and cause fatal internal bleeding. In addition, some studies report an increased risk of developing liver cancer. However, liver cancers are rare.

5.  Cancer of the Reproductive Organs and Breasts

Various studies give conflicting reports on the relationship between breast cancer and oral contraceptive use. Oral contraceptive use may slightly increase your chance of having breast cancer diagnosed, particularly after using hormonal contraceptives at a younger age. After you stop using hormonal contraceptives, the chances of having breast cancer diagnosed begin to go back down. Yo u should have regular breast examinations by a healthcare professional and examine your own breasts monthly. Tell your healthcare professional if you have a family history of breast cancer or if you have had breast nodules or an abnormal mammogram. Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use oral contraceptives because breast cancer is usually a hormone-sensitive tumor.

Some studies have found an increase in the incidence of cancer of the cervix in women who use oral contraceptives. However, this finding may be related to factors other than the use of oral contraceptives. There is insufficient evidence to rule out the possibility that the pill may cause such cancers.

ESTIMATED RISK OF DEATH FROM A BIRTH CONTROL METHOD OR PREGNANCY

All methods of birth control and pregnancy are associated with a risk of developing certain diseases which may lead to disability or death. An estimate of the number of deaths associated with different methods of birth control and pregnancy has been calculated and is shown in the following table.

Table 4: Annual Number of Birth-Related or Method-Related Deaths Associated with Control of Fertility Per 100,000 Nonsterile Women, By Fertility-Control Method and According to Age

Method of control and outcome 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44
No fertility-control methods* 7.0 7.4 9.1 14.8 25.7 28.2
Oral contraceptives nonsmoker** 0.3 0.5 0.9 1.9 13.8 31.6
Oral contraceptives smoker** 2.2 3.4 6.6 13.5 51.1 117.2
IUD** 0.8 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.4 1.4
Condom* 1.1 1.6 0.7 0.2 0.3 0.4
Diaphragm/spermicide* 1.9 1.2 1.2 1.3 2.2 2.8
Periodic abstinence* 2.5 1.6 1.6 1.7 2.9 3.6
* Deaths are birth-related **Deaths are method-related Adapted from H.W. Ory, Family Planning Perspectives, Ref. #35.

In the above table, the risk of death from any birth control method is less than the risk of childbirth, except for oral contraceptive users over the age of 35 who smoke and pill users over the age of 40 even if they do not smoke. It can be seen in the table that for women aged 15 to 39, the risk of death was highest with pregnancy (7-26 deaths per 100,000 women, depending on age). Among pill users who do not smoke, the risk of death was always lower than that associated with pregnancy for any age group, although over the age of 40, the risk increases to 32 deaths per 100,000 women, compared to 28 associated with pregnancy at that age. However, for pill users who smoke and are over the age of 35, the estimated number of deaths exceeds those for other methods of birth control. If a woman is over the age of 40 and smokes, her estimated risk of death is four times higher (117/100,000 women) than the estimated risk associated with pregnancy (28/100,000 women) in that age group.

The suggestion that women over 40 who do not smoke should not take oral contraceptives is based on information from older, higher-dose pills. An Advisory Committee of the FDA discussed this issue in 1989 and recommended that the benefits of low-dose oral contraceptive use by healthy, non-smoking women over 40 years of age may outweigh the possible risks. Older women, as all women, who take oral contraceptives, should take an oral contraceptive which contains the least amount of estrogen and progestogen that is compatible with the individual patient needs.

WARNING SIGNALS

If any of these adverse effects occur while you are taking oral contraceptives, call your healthcare professional immediately:

  • Sharp chest pain, coughing of blood, or sudden shortness of breath (indicating a possible clot in the lung)
  • Pain in the calf (indicating a possible clot in the leg)
  • Crushing chest pain or heaviness in the chest (indicating a possible heart attack)
  • Sudden severe headache or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, disturbances of vision or speech, weakness, or numbness in an arm or leg (indicating a possible stroke)
  • Sudden partial or complete loss of vision (indicating a possible clot in the eye)
  • Breast lumps (indicating possible breast cancer or fibrocystic disease of the breast; ask your healthcare professional to show you how to examine your breasts)
  • Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach area (indicating a possibly ruptured liver tumor)
  • Difficulty in sleeping, weakness, lack of energy, fatigue, or change in mood (possibly indicating severe depression)
  • Jaundice or a yellowing of the skin or eyeballs, accompanied frequently by fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark colored urine, or light colored bowel movements (indicating possible liver problems)

SIDE EFFECTS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

  1. Vaginal Bleeding
    Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting may occur while you are taking the pills. Irregular bleeding may vary from slight staining between menstrual periods to breakthrough bleeding which is a flow much like a regular period. Irregular bleeding occurs most often during the first few months of oral contraceptive use, but may also occur after you have been taking the pill for some time. Such bleeding may be temporary and usually does not indicate any serious problems. It is important to continue taking your pills on schedule. If the bleeding occurs in more than one cycle or lasts for more than a few days, talk to your healthcare professional.
  2. Contact Lenses
    If you wear contact lenses and notice a change in vision or an inability to wear your lenses, contact your healthcare professional.
  3. Fluid Retention
    Oral contraceptives may cause edema (fluid retention) with swelling of the fingers or ankles and may raise your blood pressure. If you experience fluid retention, contact your healthcare professional.
  4. Melasma
    A spotty darkening of the skin is possible, particularly of the face, which may persist.
  5. Other Side Effects
    Other side effects may include nausea and vomiting, change in appetite, headache, nervousness, depression, dizziness, loss of scalp hair, rash, and vaginal infections.

If any of these side effects bother you, call your healthcare professional.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

1.  Missed Periods and Use of Oral Contraceptives Before or During Early Pregnancy

There may be times when you may not menstruate regularly after you have completed taking a cycle of pills. If you have taken your pills regularly and miss one menstrual period, continue taking your pills for the next cycle but be sure to inform your healthcare professional. If you have not taken the pills daily as instructed and missed a menstrual period, you may be pregnant. If you missed two consecutive menstrual periods, you may be pregnant. Check with your healthcare professional immediately to determine whether you are pregnant. Stop taking oral contraceptives if pregnancy is confirmed.

There is no conclusive evidence that oral contraceptive use is associated with an increase in birth defects, when taken inadvertently during early pregnancy. Previously, a few studies had reported that oral contraceptives might be associated with birth defects, but these findings have not been seen in more recent studies. Nevertheless, oral contraceptives should not be used during pregnancy. You should check with your healthcare professional about risks to your unborn child of any medication taken during pregnancy.

2.  While Breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding, consult your healthcare professional before starting oral contraceptives. Some of the drug will be passed on to the child in the milk. A few adverse effects on the child have been reported, including yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and breast enlargement. In addition, oral contraceptives may decrease the amount and quality of your milk. If possible, do not use oral contraceptives while breastfeeding. Yo u should use another method of contraception since breastfeeding provides only partial protection from becoming pregnant and this partial protection decreases significantly as you breastfeed for longer periods of time. Yo u should consider starting oral contraceptives only after you have weaned your child completely.

3.  Laboratory Tests

If you are scheduled for any laboratory tests, tell your healthcare professional you are taking birth control pills. Certain blood tests may be affected by birth control pills.

4.  Drug Interactions

Certain drugs may interact with birth control pills to make them less effective in preventing pregnancy or cause an increase in breakthrough bleeding. Such drugs include rifampin, drugs used for epilepsy such as barbiturates (for example, phenobarbital), topiramate (TOPAMAX®), carbamazepine (Tegretol® is one brand of this drug), or phenytoin (Dilantin® is one brand of this drug); phenylbutazone (Butazolidin® is one brand); certain drugs used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS; and possibly certain antibiotics. Pregnancies and breakthrough bleeding have been reported by women who also used some form of the herbal supplement St. John's Wort while using combined hormonal contraceptives. You may need to use additional contraception when you take other products which can make oral contraceptives less effective. Be sure to tell your healthcare professional if you are taking or start taking any medications while taking birth control pills.

5.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases

ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® Lo (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. Oral contraceptives do not protect against transmission of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis.

HOW TO TAKE THE PILL
IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS:

  1. BE SURE TO READ THESE DIRECTIONS:
    Before you start taking your pills.
    Anytime you are not sure what to do.
  2. THE RIGHT WAY TO TAKE THE PILL IS TO TAKE ONE PILL EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME.
    If you miss pills you could get pregnant. This includes starting the pack late.
    The more pills you miss, the more likely you are to get pregnant.
  3. MANY WOMEN HAVE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, OR MAY FEEL SICK TO THEIR STOMACH DURING THE FIRST 1-3 PACKS OF PILLS. If you feel sick to your stomach, do not stop taking the pill. The problem will usually go away. If it doesn't go away, check with your healthcare professional.
  4. MISSING PILLS CAN ALSO CAUSE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, even when you make up these missed pills.
    On the days you take 2 pills to make up for missed pills, you could also feel a little sick to your stomach.
  5. IF YOU HAVE VOMITING OR DIARRHEA, or IF YOU TAKE SOME MEDICINES, including some antibiotics, your pills may not work as well.
    Use a back-up method (such as condoms or spermicides) until you check with your healthcare professional.
  6. IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING TO TAKE THE PILL, talk to your healthcare professional about how to make pill-taking easier or about using another method of birth control.
  7. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ARE UNSURE ABOUT THE INFORMATION IN THIS LEAFLET, call your healthcare professional.

BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS

  1. DECIDE WHAT TIME OF DAY YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR PILL.
    It is important to take it at about the same time every day.
  2. The pill pack has 21 white, light blue, and dark blue "active" pills (with hormones) to take for 3 weeks. This is followed by 1 week of dark green "reminder" pills (without hormones).
  3. ALSO FIND:
    1) where on the pack to start taking pills,
    2) in what order to take the pills.
    CHECK PICTURE OF PILL PACK AND ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THIS PACKAGE IN THE BRIEF SUMMARY PATIENT PACKAGE INSERT.
  4. BE SURE YOU HAVE READY AT ALL TIMES:
    ANOTHER KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL (such as condoms or spermicide) to use as a back-up method in case you miss pills.
    AN EXTRA, FULL PILL PACK.

WHEN TO START THE FIRST PACK OF PILLS

You have a choice of which day to start taking your first pack of pills. ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® Lo is available in the DIALPAK® Tablet Dispenser which is preset for a Sunday Start. Day 1 Start is also provided. Decide with your healthcare professional which is the best day for you. Pick a time of day which will be easy to remember.

SUNDAY START:

Take the first white "active" pill of the first pack on the Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start the pack that same day.

Use another method of birth control (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method if you have sex anytime from the Sunday you start your first pack until the next Sunday (7 days).

DAY 1 START:

Take the first white "active" pill of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.

You will not need to use a back-up method of birth control, since you are starting the pill at the beginning ofyour period.

WHAT TO DO DURING THE MONTH

  1. Take One Pill At The Same Time Every Day Until The Pack Is Empty
    Do not skip pills even if you are spotting or bleeding between monthly periods or feel sick to your stomach (nausea). Do not skip pills even if you do not have sex very often.
  2. When You Finish A Pack Or Switch Your Brand Of Pills
    Start the next pack on the day after your last dark green "reminder" pill. Do not wait any days between packs.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS PILLS

If you MISS 1 white, light blue or dark blue "active" pill:

  1. Take it as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at your regular time. This means you may take 2 pills in 1 day.
  2. You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you have sex.

If you MISS 2 white or light blue "active" pills in a row in WEEK 1 OR WEEK 2 of your pack:

  1. Take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day.
  2. Then take 1 pill a day until you finish the pack.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you MISS 2 dark blue "active" pills in a row in THE 3RD WEEK:

  1. If you are a Sunday Starter:
    Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
  2. You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare professional because you might be pregnant.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you MISS 3 OR MORE white, light blue or dark blue "active" pills in a row (during the first 3 weeks):

  1. If you are a Sunday Starter:
    Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
  2. You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare professional because you might be pregnant.
  3. You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up method for those 7 days.

If you forget any of the 7 dark green "reminder" pills in Week 4:

THROW AWAY the pills you missed.
Keep taking 1 pill each day until the pack is empty.
You do not need a back-up method.

FINALLY, IF YOU ARE STILL NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE PILLS YOU HAVE MISSED:

Use a BACK-UP METHOD anytime you have sex.
KEEP TAKING ONE "ACTIVE" PILL EACH DAY until you can reach your healthcare professional.

PREGNANCY DUE TO PILL FAILURE

When taken correctly without missing any pills, oral contraceptives are highly effective; however the typical failure rate of large numbers of pill users is 5% per year when women who miss pills are included. If failure does occur, the risk to the fetus is minimal.

PREGNANCY AFTER STOPPING THE PILL

There may be some delay in becoming pregnant after you stop using oral contraceptives, especially if you had irregular menstrual cycles before you used oral contraceptives. It may be advisable to postpone conception until you begin menstruating regularly once you have stopped taking the pill and desire pregnancy. There does not appear to be any increase in birth defects in newborn babies when pregnancy occurs soon after stopping the pill.

OVERDOSE

Serious ill effects have not been reported following ingestion of large doses of oral contraceptives by young children. Overdosage may cause nausea and withdrawal bleeding in females. In case of overdosage, contact your healthcare professional or pharmacist.

OTHER INFORMATION

Your healthcare professional will take a medical and family history before prescribing oral contraceptives and will examine you. The physical examination may be delayed to another time if you request it and the healthcare professional believes that it is a good medical practice to postpone it. You should be reexamined at least once a year. Be sure to inform your healthcare professional if there is a family history of any of the conditions listed previously in this leaflet. Be sure to keep all appointments with your healthcare professional, because this is a time to determine if there are early signs of side effects of oral contraceptive use. Do not use the drug for any condition other than the one for which it was prescribed. This drug has been prescribed specifically for you; do not give it to others who may want birth control pills.

HEALTH BENEFITS FROM ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

In addition to preventing pregnancy, use of combination oral contraceptives may provide certain benefits. They are:

  • menstrual cycles may become more regular
  • blood flow during menstruation may be lighter and less iron may be lost. Therefore, anemia due to iron deficiency is less likely to occur
  • pain or other symptoms during menstruation may be encountered less frequently
  • ectopic (tubal) pregnancy may occur less frequently
  • noncancerous cysts or lumps in the breast may occur less frequently
  • acute pelvic inflammatory disease may occur less frequently
  • oral contraceptive use may provide some protection against developing two forms of cancer: cancer of the ovaries and cancer of the lining of the uterus

If you want more information about birth control pills, ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist. They have a more technical leaflet called the Professional Labeling, which you may wish to read. The professional labeling is also published in a book entitled Physicians' Desk Reference, available in many bookstores and public libraries.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/27/2007
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

A A A

Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo - User Reviews

Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

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.


Women's Health

Find out what women really need.


NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD