Recommended Topic Related To:

Zovia

"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).

Whether t"...

Zovia

PATIENT INFORMATION

BRIEF SUMMARY OF PATIENT WARNINGS

This product (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels 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.

other sexually transmitted diseases.

In the detailed leaflet, “What You Should Know About Oral Contraceptives,” which you have received, the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives are discussed in much more detail. That leaflet also provides information on other forms of contraception. Please take time to read it carefully for it may have been recently revised.

If you have any questions or problems regarding this information, contact your doctor.

Oral contraceptives, also known as “birth control pills” or “the pill,” are taken to prevent pregnancy and, when taken correctly, have a failure rate of about 1% per year when used without missing any pills. The typical failure rate of large numbers of pill users is less than 3% per year when women who miss pills are included. However, forgetting to take pills considerably increases the chances of pregnancy.

For most women, oral contraceptives are free of serious or unpleasant side effects. However, oral contraceptive use is associated with certain serious diseases or conditions that can cause severe disability or death, though rarely. There are some women who are at high risk of developing certain serious diseases that can be life-threatening or may cause temporary or permanent disability. The risks associated with taking oral contraceptives increase significantly if you:

Women should not use oral contraceptives if they suspect they are pregnant or if they have unexplained vaginal bleeding.

Most side effects of the pill are not serious. The most common 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.

Proper use of oral contraceptives requires that they be taken under your doctor's continuing supervision, because they can be associated with serious side effects. 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, and that certain of the risks may persist after use of the pill has been discontinued:

  1. Blood clots in the legs, arms, lungs, heart (heart attack), eyes, abdomen, or elsewhere in the body. As mentioned above, smoking increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes and subsequent serious medical consequences.
  2. Stroke, due to a blood clot, or to bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage) as a result of bursting of a blood vessel. Stroke can lead to paralysis in all or part of the body, or to death.
  3. Liver tumors, which may rupture and cause severe bleeding and death. A possible, but not definite, association has also been found with the pill and liver cancer. However, with or without use of the pill, liver cancers are extremely rare in the United States.
  4. High blood pressure, although blood pressure ordinarily, but not always, returns to original levels when the pill is stopped.
  5. Gallbladder disease, which might require surgery.

The symptoms associated with these serious side effects are discussed in the detailed leaflet given to you with your supply of pills. Notify your doctor or health care provider if you notice any unusual physical disturbances while taking the pill. In addition, you should be aware that drugs such as antiepileptics, antibiotics (especially rifampin), as well as certain other drugs, may decrease oral contraceptive effectiveness.

There is a conflict among studies regarding breast cancer and oral contraceptive use. Some studies have reported an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, particularly at a younger age. This increased risk appears to be related to duration of use. The majority of studies have found no overall increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. 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 pills may cause such cancers.

Taking the pill may provide some important non-contraceptive benefits. These include less painful menstruation, less menstrual blood loss and anemia, less risk of fibroids, pelvic infections, and noncancerous breast disease, and less risk of cancer of the ovary and of the lining of the uterus (womb).

Be sure to discuss any medical condition you may have with your health care provider. He or she will take a medical and family history before prescribing oral contraceptives and will also examine you. The physical examination may be delayed to another time if you request it and the health care provider believes that it is a good medical practice to postpone it. You should be re-examined at least once a year while taking oral contraceptives. The detailed patient information leaflet gives you further information that you should read and discuss with your health care provider.

DETAILED PATIENT LABELING: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

This product (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

INTRODUCTION

You should not use Zovia (ehtynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets) 1/50E, which contains higher doses of estrogen than other oral contraceptives, unless specifically recommended by your health care provider.

It is important that any woman who considers using an oral contraceptive understand the risks involved. Although the oral contraceptives have important advantages over other methods of contraception, they have certain risks that no other method has. Only you and your physician can decide whether the advantages are worth these risks. This leaflet will tell you about the most important risks. It will explain how you can help your doctor prescribe the pill as safely as possible by telling him/her about yourself and being alert for the earliest signs of trouble. And it will tell you how to use the pill properly so that it will be as effective as possible. THERE IS MORE DETAILED INFORMATION AVAILABLE IN THE LEAFLET PREPARED FOR DOCTORS. Your pharmacist can show you a copy; you may need your doctor's help in understanding parts of it.

This leaflet is not a replacement for a careful discussion between you and your health care provider. You should discuss the information provided in this leaflet with him or her, both when you first start taking the pill and during your revisits. You should also follow your health care provider's advice with regard to regular check-ups while you are on the pill.

If you do not have any of the conditions listed below and are thinking about using oral contraceptives, to help you decide, you need information about the advantages and risks of oral contraceptives and of other contraceptive methods as well. This leaflet describes the advantages and risks of oral contraceptives. Except for sterilization, the intrauterine device (IUD), and abortion, which have their own specific risks, the only risks of other methods are those due to pregnancy should the method fail. Your doctor can answer questions you may have with respect to other methods of contraception, and further questions you may have on oral contraceptives after reading this leaflet.

WHAT ARE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES?

The most common type of oral contraceptive, often simply called “the pill,” is a combination of estrogen and progestogen, the two kinds of female hormones. The amount of estrogen and progestogen can vary, but the amount of estrogen is more important because both the effectiveness and some of the dangers of the pill have been related to the amount of estrogen. The pill works principally by preventing release of an egg from the ovary during the cycle in which the pills are taken.

EFFECTIVENESS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

The pill is one of the most effective methods of birth control. When they are taken correctly, without missing any pills, the chance of becoming pregnant is less than 1% (1 pregnancy per 100 women per year of use) when used perfectly, without missing any pills. Typical failure rates are actually about 3% per year. The chance of becoming pregnant increases with each missed pill during a menstrual cycle.

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

Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy during the first year of typical use and the first year of perfect use of contraception and the percentage continuing use at the end of the first year. United States.

% of women experiencing
an unintended pregnancy within the
first year of use
% of women continuing use at one year (C) (4)
Method (1) Typical use (A)(2) Perfect use (B)(3)
Chance(D) 85 85  
Spermicides(E) 26 6 40
Periodic abstinence 25   63
  Calendar   9  
  Ovulation method   3  
  Sympto-thermal(F)   2  
  Post-ovulation   1  
Withdrawal 19 4  
Cap(G)      
  Parous women 40 26 42
  Nulliparous women 20 9 56
Sponge  
  Parous women 40 20 42
  Nulliparous women 20 9 56
Diaphragm(G) 20 6 56
Condom (H)  
  Female (Reality) 21 5 56
  Male 14 3 61
Pill 5   71
  Progestin only   0.5  
  Combined   0.1  
IUD  
  Progesterone T 2 1.5 81
  Copper T 380A 0.8 0.6 78
  LNg 20 0.1 0.1 81
Injection (Depo-Provera) 0.3 0.3 70
Implant (Norplant and Norplant-2) 0.05 0.05 88
Female sterilization 0.5 0.5 100
Male sterilization 0.15 0.1 100
Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Treatment initiated within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse reduces the risk of pregnancy by at least 75%.(I)
Lactational Amenorrhea Method: LAM is a highly effective, temporary method of contraception.(J)
Source: Trussell J, Contraceptive efficacy. In Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Stewart F, Cates W, Stewart GK, Kowal D, Guest F, Contraceptive Technology: Seventeenth Revised Edition. New York NY: Irvington Publishers, 1998, in press.1
(A) Among typical couples who initiate use of a method (not necessarily for the first time), the percentage who experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.
(B) Among couples who initiate use of a method (not necessarily for the first time) and who use it perfectly (both consistently and correctly), the percentage who experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.
(C) Among couples attempting to avoid pregnancy, the percentage who continue to use a method for one year.
(D) The percents becoming pregnant in columns (2) and (3) are based on data from populations where contraception is not used and from women who cease using contraception in order to become pregnant. Among such populations, about 89% become pregnant within one year. This estimate was lowered slightly (to 85%) to represent the percent who would become pregnant within one year among women now relying on reversible methods of contraception if they abandoned contraception altogether.
(E) Foams, creams, gels, vaginal suppositories, and vaginal film.
(F) Cervical mucus (ovulation) method supplemented by calendar in the pre-ovulatory and basal body temperature in the post-ovulatory phases.
(G) With spermicidal cream or jelly.
(H) Without spermicides.
(I) The treatment schedule is one dose within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse and a second dose 12 hours after the first dose. The Food and Drug Administration has declared the following brands of oral contraceptives to be safe and effective for emergency contraception: Ovral (1 dose is 2 white pills), Alesse (1 dose is 5 pink pills), Nordette or Levlen (1 dose is 2 light-orange pills), Lo/Ovral (1 dose is 4 white pills), Triphasil or Tri-Levlen (1 dose is 4 yellow pills).
(J) However, to maintain effective protection against pregnancy, another method of contraception must be used as soon as menstruation resumes, the frequency or duration of breastfeeds is reduced, bottle feeds are introduced, or the baby reaches six months of age.

WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels 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. For example, you should not take the pill if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. You should also not use the pill if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heart attack or stroke (blood clot or hemorrhage in the brain), currently or in the past.
  • Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), eyes, or elsewhere in the body, currently or in the past.
  • Chest pain (angina pectoris), currently or in the past.
  • Known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the uterus (womb), cervix, or vagina, currently or in the past.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding (until a diagnosis is reached by your doctor).
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill.
  • Liver tumor (whether cancerous or not), currently or in the past.
  • Known or suspected pregnancy (one or more menstrual periods missed).

Tell your health care provider if you have ever had any of these conditions. He or she can recommend a safer method of birth control.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE TAKING ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

Tell your health care provider if you have or have had any of the following conditions, as he or she will want to watch them closely or they might cause him or her to suggest using another method of contraception:

  • Breast nodules (lumps), fibrocystic disease (breast cysts), abnormal mammograms (x-ray pictures of the breast), or abnormal Pap smears
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Migraine or other headaches or epilepsy
  • Mental depression
  • Gallbladder, heart, or kidney disease
  • History of scanty or irregular menstrual periods
  • Problems during a prior pregnancy
  • Fibroid tumors of the womb
  • History of jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin)
  • Varicose veins
  • Tuberculosis
  • Plans for elective surgery

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

Also, be sure to tell your doctor 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 the most serious side effects of taking oral contraceptives. 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 have recently delivered a baby, you may be at risk of developing blood clots. You should consult your doctor about stopping oral contraceptives 3 to 4 weeks before surgery and not taking oral contraceptives for 2 weeks after surgery or during bed rest. You should also not take oral contraceptives soon after delivery of a baby. It is advisable to wait for at least 4 weeks after delivery if you are not breast feeding. If you are breast feeding, you should wait until you have weaned your child before using the pill. (See also the section on Breast feeding 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 years, 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 by blood clots or rupture of blood vessels of the brain) and angina pectoris and heart attacks (blockage of blood vessels of the heart). Any of these conditions can cause death or permanent disability.

Smoking greatly increases the possibility of suffering heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, smoking and the use of oral contraceptives greatly increases 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 tumors can rupture and cause fatal internal bleeding. In addition, a possible but not definite association has been found with the pill and liver cancers in several studies, in which a few women who developed these very rare cancers were found to have used oral contraceptives for long periods. However, liver cancers are rare.

5. Cancer of the reproductive organs and breasts. There is conflict among studies regarding breast cancer and oral contraceptive use. Some studies have reported an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, particularly at a younger age. This increased risk appears to be related to duration of use. The majority of studies have found no overall increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who use oral contraceptives and have a strong family history of breast cancer or who have had breast nodules or abnormal mammograms should be closely followed by their doctors.

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 pills may cause such cancers.

ESTIMATED RISK OF DEATH FROM BIRTH CONTROL METHOD OR PREGNANCY

All methods of birth control and pregnancy are associated with a risk of developing certain diseases that 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.

Annual number of birth-related or method-related deaths associated with control of fertility per 100,000 nonsterile women, by fertility control method according to age.

Method of control Age
15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44
No fertility control methods* 7 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
  smoker** 2.2 3.4 6.6 13.5 51.1 117.2
IUD** 0.8 0.8 1 1 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

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 See n 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) in that age group.

The suggestion that women over 40 who don't smoke should not take oral contraceptives is based on information from older high-dose pills and on less selective use of pills than is practiced today. An Advisory Committee of the FDA discussed this issue in 1989 and recommended that the benefits of oral contraceptive use by healthy, nonsmoking women over 40 years of age may outweigh the possible risks. However, all women, especially older women, are cautioned to use the lowest dose pill that is effective.

WARNING SIGNALS

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

  • Sharp chest pain, coughing up blood, or sudden shortness of breath (indicating a possible blood clot in the lung).
  • Pain in the calf (indicating a possible blood 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, or numbness in an arm or leg (indicating a possible stroke).
  • Sudden partial or complete loss of vision (indicating a possible blood clot in the blood vessels of the eye).
  • Breast lumps (indicating possible breast cancer or fibrocystic disease of the breast). Ask your doctor or health care provider to show you how to examine your own breasts.
  • Severe pain or tenderness or a mass in the stomach area (indicating a possible 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).
  • Unusual swelling.
  • Other unusual conditions.

SIDE EFFECTS OF ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

1. Vaginal bleeding.

Spotting. This is a slight staining between your menstrual periods that may not even require a pad. Some women spot even though they take their pills exactly as directed. Many women spot although they have never taken the pills. Spotting does not mean that your ovaries are releasing an egg. Spotting may be the result of irregular pill-taking. Getting back on schedule will usually stop it.

If you should spot while taking the pills, you should not be alarmed, because spotting usually stops by itself within a few days. It seldom occurs after the first pill cycle. Consult your doctor if spotting persists for more than a few days or if it occurs after the second cycle. Unexpected (breakthrough) bleeding. Unexpected (breakthrough) bleeding does not mean that your ovaries have released an egg. It seldom occurs, but when it does happen it is most common in the first pill cycle. It is a flow much like a regular period, requiring the use of a pad or tampon.

If you experience breakthrough bleeding use a pad or tampon and continue with your schedule. Usually your periods will become regular within a few cycles. Breakthrough bleeding will seldom bother you again.

Consult your doctor or health care provider if breakthrough bleeding is heavy, does not stop within a week, or if it occurs after the second cycle.

2. Contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses and notice a change in vision or an inability to wear your lenses, contact your doctor or health care provider.

3. Fluid retention or raised blood pressure. Oral contraceptives may cause edema (fluid retention), with swelling of the fingers or ankles. If you experience fluid retention, contact your doctor or health care provider. Some women develop high blood pressure while on the pill, which ordinarily, but not always, returns to the original levels when the pill is stopped. High blood pressure predisposes one to strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, and other diseases of the blood vessels.

4. Melasma. A spotty darkening of the skin is possible, particularly of the face. This may persist after the pill is discontinued.

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, or other, side effects occur, call your doctor or health care provider.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

Missed periods and use of oral contraceptives before or during early pregnancy

Occasionally women who are taking the pill miss periods. It has been reported to occur as frequently as several times each year in some women, depending on various factors such as age and prior history (your doctor is the best source of information about this). The pill should not be used when you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant. Very rarely, women who are using the pill as directed become pregnant. The likelihood of becoming pregnant is higher if you occasionally miss one or two pills. Therefore, if you miss a period you should consult your physician before continuing to take the pill. If you miss a period, especially if you have not taken the pill regularly, you should use an alternative method of contraception until pregnancy has been ruled out; if you have missed more than one pill at any time, you should immediately start using an additional method of contraception and complete your pill cycle.

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 See n in more recent studies. Nevertheless, oral contraceptives or any other drugs should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary and prescribed by your doctor. You should check with your doctor about risks to your unborn child of any medication taken during pregnancy.

Breast feeding

If you are breast feeding, consult your doctor 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 breast feeding. You should use another method of contraception since breast feeding provides only partial protection from becoming pregnant and this partial protection decreases significantly as you breast feed for longer periods of time. You should consider starting oral contraceptives only after you have weaned your child completely.

Laboratory tests

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

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) and phenytoin (Dilantin is one brand of this drug), phenylbutazone (Butazolidin is one brand), Rezulin (troglitazone) a hypoglycemic, and possibly certain antibiotics. You may need to use additional contraception when you take drugs that can make oral contraceptives less effective.

Oral contraceptives may have an influence upon the way other drugs act. Check with your doctor if you are taking any other drugs while you are on the pill.

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 doctor or clinic.

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, for any reason, or IF YOU TAKE SOME MEDICINES, including some antibiotics, your pills may not work as well.
Use a backup method (such as condoms, foam, or sponge) until you check with your doctor or clinic.

6. IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING TO TAKE THE PILL, talk to your doctor or clinic 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 doctor or clinic.

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. LOOK AT YOUR PILL PACK TO SEE IF IT HAS 28 PILLS:
Your tablet dispenser consists of a case and a pill pack containing 28 pills. They are arranged in four numbered rows with the days of the week printed above them.

The 28-pill pack has 21 “active” pills (with hormones- light pink or pink) to take for 3 weeks, followed by 1 week of reminder white pills (without hormones). To remove a pill press down on it with the flat of your finger. The pill will drop through a hole in the bottom of the dispenser.

3. ALSO FIND:

  • Where on the pack to start taking pills.
  • In what order to take the pills (left to right).
    Begin the 28-pill pack with the first pill in Row 1 and continue (→) across Row 1 (Week 1). Repeat for Row 2, Row 3, and finally Row 4. Take all “active” pills (light pink or pink) before starting Row 4.

28-Pill Pack Illustration

Zovia (ehtynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets) 1/35E 28-Pill Pack

Zovia 1/35E-28 (Ethynodiol Diacetate and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets USP)  Zovia 1/50E 28-Pill Pack Illustration

Zovia (ehtynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets) 1/50E 28-Pill Pack

4. BE SURE YOU HAVE READY AT ALL TIMES:

  • ANOTHER KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL (such as condoms, foam, or sponge) to use as a backup 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. Decide with your doctor or clinic which is the best day for you. Pick a time of day which will be easy to remember.

DAY 1 START:

  • Take the first “active” pill (light pink or pink) of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.
  • You will not need to use a backup method of birth control, since you are starting the pill at the beginning of your period.

SUNDAY START:

  • Take the first “active” pill (light pink or pink) 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 as a backup method if you have sex anytime from the Sunday you start your first pack until the next Sunday (7 days). Condoms, foam, or the sponge are good backup methods of birth control.

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 28-DAY PILLS: Start the next pack on the day after your last “reminder” pill. Do not wait any days between 28-day packs.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS PILLS

If you MISS 1 “active” pill (light pink or pink):

  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 backup birth control method if you have sex.

If you MISS 2 “active” pills (light pink or pink) 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 MAY BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms, foam, or sponge) as a backup for those 7 days.

If you MISS 2 “active” pills (light pink or pink) in a row in THE 3rd WEEK:

  1. If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
    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.
  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 doctor or clinic because you might be pregnant.
  3. You MAY BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms, foam, or sponge) as a backup for those 7 days.

If you MISS 3 OR MORE “active” pills (light pink or pink) in a row (during the first 3 weeks):

  1. If you are a Day 1 Starter:
    THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    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.
  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 doctor or clinic because you might be pregnant.
  3. You MAY BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms, foam, or sponge) as a backup for those 7 days.

A REMINDER FOR THOSE ON 28-DAY PACKS If you forget any of the 7 white “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 backup method.

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

  • Use a BACKUP METHOD of birth control anytime you have sex.
  • KEEP TAKING ONE “ACTIVE” PILL EACH DAY until you can reach your doctor or clinic.

PREGNANCY DUE TO PILL FAILURE

The incidence of pill failure resulting in pregnancy is approximately 1% (i.e., one pregnancy per 100 women per year) if taken every day as directed, but, because some women fail to follow the daily schedule, more typical failure rates are about 3%. If you become pregnant you should discuss your pregnancy with your doctor.

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 after stopping the pill.

OVERDOSAGE

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 health care provider, pharmacist or Poison Control Center.

OTHER INFORMATION

Your health care provider will take a medical and family history before prescribing oral contraceptives and will also examine you. The physical examination may be delayed to another time if you request it and the health care provider believes that it is a good medical practice to postpone it. You should be reexamined at least once a year. Certain health problems or conditions in your medical or family history may require that your health care provider See you more frequently while you are taking the pill. Be sure to keep all appointments with your health care provider 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.

This product (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against transmission of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis.

HEALTH BENEFITS FROM ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

In addition to preventing pregnancy, use of 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
  • Fibroids of the uterus (womb) 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 (womb)

If you want more information about birth control pills, ask your doctor 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 book stores and public libraries.

Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children.

Be certain to read new revisions of this leaflet.

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/17/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

A A A

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.