CIGARETTE SMOKING AND SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from combination oral contraceptives (COC) use. This risk increases with age, particularly in women over 35 years of age, and with the number of cigarettes smoked. For this reason, COCs should not be used by women who are over 35 years of age and smoke. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS]
AMETHIA™ tablets are an extended-cycle oral contraceptive consisting of 84 white tablets each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen and 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol, and 7 light blue tablets containing 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol.
The structural formulas for the active components are:
Levonorgestrel is chemically 18,19-Dinorpregn-4-en-20-yn-3-one, 13-ethyl-17-hydroxy-, (17 α)-, (-)-.
Ethinyl Estradiol is 19-Norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trien-20-yne-3,17-diol, (17α)-.
Each white tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, croscarmellose sodium and magnesium stearate.
Each light blue tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: vitamin E, anhydrous lactose, povidone, FD&C Blue #1, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch and stearic acid.
AMETHIA tablets are indicated for use by women to prevent pregnancy.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Take one tablet by mouth at the same time every day. The dosage of AMETHIA tablets is one white tablet containing levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol daily for 84 consecutive days, followed by one light blue ethinyl estradiol tablet for 7 days. To achieve maximum contraceptive effectiveness, AMETHIA tablets must be taken exactly as directed and at intervals not exceeding 24 hours.
Instruct the patient to begin taking AMETHIA tablets on the first Sunday after the onset of menstruation. If menstruation begins on a Sunday, the first white tablet is taken that day. One white tablet should be taken daily for 84 consecutive days, followed by one light blue tablet for 7 consecutive days. A non-hormonal back-up method of contraception (such as condoms or spermicide) should be used until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 consecutive days. A scheduled period should occur during the 7 days that the light blue tablets are taken.
Begin the next and all subsequent 91-day cycles without interruption on the same day of the week (Sunday) on which the patient began her first dose of AMETHIA tablets, following the same schedule: 84 days taking a white tablet followed by 7 days taking a blue tablet. If the patient does not immediately start her next pill pack, she should protect herself from pregnancy by using a non-hormonal back-up method of contraception until she has taken a white tablet daily for 7 consecutive days. If unscheduled spotting or bleeding occurs, instruct the patient to continue on the same regimen. If the bleeding is persistent or prolonged, advise the patient to consult her healthcare provider.
For patient instructions regarding missed pills, see FDA-Approved Patient Labeling.
For postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, start AMETHIA tablets no earlier than four to six weeks postpartum due to increased risk of thromboembolism. If the patient starts on AMETHIA tablets postpartum and has not yet had a period, evaluate for possible pregnancy, and instruct her to use an additional method of contraception until she has taken a white tablet for 7 consecutive days.
Dosage Forms And Strengths
AMETHIA tablets are available in Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispensers, each containing a 13-week supply of tablets: 84 white tablets, each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol, and 7 light blue tablets each containing 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol. The white tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 268 on the other side. The light blue tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 270 on the other side.
Storage And Handling
AMETHIA™ Levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets, 0.15mg/0.03 mg and 0.01 mg are available in Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispensers (NDC 51862-047-01), each containing a 13-week supply of tablets: 84 white tablets, each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol, and 7 light blue tablets each containing 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol. The white tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 268 on the other side. The light blue tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 270 on the other side.
Box of 2 Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispensers
Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].
Distributed by: Mayne Pharma, Greenville, NC 27834. Manufactured by: Patheon, Inc., 2100 Syntex Court, Mississauga, Ontario L5N 7K9, Canada. Revised: Aug 2017
The following serious adverse reactions with the use of COCs are discussed elsewhere in the labeling:
- Serious cardiovascular events and smoking [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Vascular events [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Liver disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Adverse reactions commonly reported by COC users are:
- Irregular uterine bleeding
- Breast tenderness
Clinical Trial Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to the rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
The clinical trial that evaluated the safety and efficacy of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets was a 12-month, randomized, multicenter, open-label study, which enrolled women aged 18 to 40, of whom 1,006 took at least one dose of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets.
Adverse Reactions Leading to Study Discontinuation: 16.3% of the women discontinued from the clinical trial due to an adverse reaction; the most common adverse reactions (≥ 1% of women) leading to discontinuation were irregular and/or heavy uterine bleeding (5.9%), weight gain (2.4%), mood changes (1.5%), and acne (1.0%).
Common Treatment-Emergent Adverse Reactions (≥ 5% of women): irregular and/or heavy uterine bleeding (17%), weight gain (5%), acne (5%).
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Gastrointestinal disorders: abdominal distension, vomiting
General disorders and administration site conditions: chest pain, fatigue, malaise, edema peripheral, pain
Immune system disorders: hypersensitivity reaction
Investigations: blood pressure increased
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: muscle spasms, pain in extremity
Nervous system disorders: dizziness, loss of consciousness
Psychiatric disorders: insomnia
Reproductive and breast disorders: dysmenorrhea
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: alopecia
Vascular disorders: thrombosis
No drug-drug interaction studies were conducted with AMETHIA tablets.
Changes In Contraceptive Effectiveness Associated With Coadministration Of Other Products
If a woman on hormonal contraceptives takes a drug or herbal product that induces enzymes, including CYP3A4, that metabolize contraceptive hormones, counsel her to use additional contraception or a different method of contraception. Drugs or herbal products that induce such enzymes may decrease the plasma concentrations of contraceptive hormones, and may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives or increase breakthrough bleeding.
Some drugs or herbal products that may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives include:
- St. John's wort
HIV Protease Inhibitors And Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma levels of the estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases of coadministration of HIV protease inhibitors or with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
There have been reports of pregnancy while taking hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics, but clinical pharmacokinetic studies have not shown consistent effects of antibiotics on plasma concentrations of synthetic steroids.
Consult the labeling of all concurrently-used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.
Increase In Plasma Levels Of Estradiol Associated With Coadministered Drugs
Coadministration of atorvastatin and certain COCs 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. CYP3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone levels.
Concomitant Use With Hepatitis C Vaccine (HCV) Combination Therapy - Liver Enzyme Elevation
Do not co-administer Amethia with HCV drug combinations containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, due to potential for ALT elevations [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Changes In Plasma Levels Of Coadministered Drugs
COCs containing some synthetic estrogens (e.g., ethinyl estradiol) may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds. COCs have been shown to significantly decrease plasma concentrations of lamotrigine likely due to induction of lamotrigine glucuronidation. This may reduce seizure control; therefore, dosage adjustments of lamotrigine may be necessary. Consult the labeling of the concurrently-used drug to obtain further information about interactions with COCs or the potential for enzyme alterations.
Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.
Thrombotic And Other Vascular Events
Stop AMETHIA tablets if an arterial or deep venous thrombotic event occurs. Although the use of COCs increases the risk of venous thromboembolism, pregnancy increases the risk of venous thromboembolism as much or more than the use of COCs. The risk of venous thromboembolism in women using COCs is 3 to 9 per 10,000 woman-years. The excess risk is highest during the first year of use of a COC. 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. The risk of thromboembolic disease due to COCs gradually disappears after COC use is discontinued.
Use of AMETHIA tablets provides women with more hormonal exposure on a yearly basis than conventional monthly oral contraceptives containing the same strength synthetic estrogens and progestins (an additional 9 and 13 weeks of exposure to progestin and estrogen, respectively, per year).
If feasible, stop AMETHIA tablets at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery or other surgeries known to have an elevated risk of thromboembolism.
Start AMETHIA tablets no earlier than 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, in women who are not breastfeeding. The risk of postpartum thromboembolism decreases after the third postpartum week, whereas the risk of ovulation increases after the third postpartum week.
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 among older (>35 years of age), and hypertensive women who also smoke. COCs also increase the risk for stroke in women with other underlying risk factors.
Oral contraceptives must be used with caution in women with cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Carcinoma Of The Breast And Cervix
Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use AMETHIA tablets because breast cancer may be hormonally sensitive.
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 are due to differences in sexual behavior and other factors.
Discontinue AMETHIA tablets if jaundice develops. Steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function. 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.
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.
Oral contraceptive-related cholestasis may occur in women with a history of pregnancy-related cholestasis. Women with a history of COC-related cholestasis may have the condition recur with subsequent COC use.
Risk Of Liver Enzyme Elevations With Concomitant Hepatitis C Treatment
During clinical trials with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen that contains obmitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, ALT elevations greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), including some cases greater than 20 times the ULN, were significantly more frequent in women using ethinyl estradiol-containing medications, such as COCs. Discontinue Amethia prior to starting therapy with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Amethia can be restarted approximately 2 weeks following completion of treatment with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen.
High Blood Pressure
For women with well-controlled hypertension, monitor blood pressure and stop AMETHIA tablets if blood pressure rises significantly. Women with uncontrolled hypertension or hypertension with vascular disease should not use COCs.
An increase in blood pressure has been reported in women taking COCs, and this increase is more likely in older women and with extended duration of use. The incidence of hypertension increases with increasing concentration of progestin.
Studies suggest a small increased relative risk of developing gallbladder disease among COC users.
Carbohydrate And Lipid Metabolic Effects
Carefully monitor prediabetic and diabetic women who are taking AMETHIA tablets. 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 AMETHIA tablets develops new headaches that are recurrent, persistent, or severe, evaluate the cause and discontinue AMETHIA tablets if indicated.
An increase in frequency or severity of migraine during COC use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason for immediate discontinuation of the COC.
Unscheduled (breakthrough) bleeding and spotting sometimes occur in patients on COCs, especially during the first 3 months of use. If bleeding persists, 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.
When prescribing AMETHIA tablets, the convenience of fewer planned menses (4 per year instead of 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting. The primary clinical trial (PSE-301) that evaluated the efficacy of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets also assessed unscheduled bleeding. The participants in the 12-month clinical trial (N=1,006) completed the equivalent of 8,681 28-day cycles of exposure and were composed primarily of women who had used oral contraceptives previously (89%) as opposed to new users (11%). A total of 82 (8.2%) of the women discontinued levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets, at least in part, due to bleeding or spotting.
Scheduled (withdrawal) bleeding and/or spotting remained fairly constant over time, with an average of 3 days of bleeding and/or spotting per each 91- day cycle. Unscheduled bleeding and unscheduled spotting decreased over successive 91-day cycles. Table 1 below presents the number of days with unscheduled bleeding in treatment cycles 1 and 4. Table 2 presents the number of days with unscheduled spotting in treatment cycles 1 and 4.
Table 1: Total Number of Days with Unscheduled Bleeding
|91-Day Treatment Cycle||Days per 84-Day Interval||Days per 28-Day Interval|
|Q1=Quartile 1: 25% of women had this number of days of unscheduled bleeding|
Median: 50% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled bleeding
Q3=Quartile 3: 75% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled Bleeding
Table 2: Total Number of Days with Unscheduled Spotting
|91-Day Treatment Cycle||Days per 84-Day Interval||Days per 28-Day Interval|
|Q1=Quartile 1: 25% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled spotting|
Median: 50% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled spotting
Q3=Quartile 3: 75% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled Spotting
Figure 1 shows the percentage of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets subjects participating in trial PSE-301 with ≥ 7 days or ≥ 20 days of unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting, or only unscheduled bleeding, during each 91-day treatment cycle.
Figure 1: Percent of Women Taking AMETHIA Tablets who Reported Unscheduled Bleeding and/or Spotting or only Unscheduled Bleeding
Amenorrhea sometimes occurs in women who are using COCs. Pregnancy should be ruled out in the event of amenorrhea. Some women may encounter amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea after stopping COCs, especially when such a condition was pre-existent.
COC Use Before And During Early Pregnancy
Extensive epidemiological 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 taken inadvertently during early pregnancy. Oral contraceptive use should be discontinued if pregnancy is confirmed.
The administration of oral contraceptives to induce withdrawal bleeding should not be used as a test for pregnancy [see Use In Specific Populations].
Women with a history of depression should be carefully observed and AMETHIA tablets discontinued if depression recurs to a serious degree.
Interference With Laboratory Tests
The use of COCs may change the results of some laboratory tests, such as coagulation factors, lipids, glucose tolerance, and binding proteins. Women on thyroid hormone replacement therapy may need increased doses of thyroid hormone because serum concentrations of thyroid binding globulin increase with use of COCs.
A woman who is taking COCs should have a yearly visit with her healthcare provider for a blood pressure check and for other indicated health care.
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 COCs.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling
- Counsel patients that cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from COC use, and that women who are over 35 years old and smoke should not use COCs.
- Counsel patients that this product does not protect against HIV-infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Counsel patients on Warnings and Precautions associated with COCs.
- Counsel patients to take one tablet 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 PILLS section of FDA-Approved Patient Labeling.
- Counsel patients to use a back-up or alternative method of contraception when enzyme inducers are used with COCs.
- Counsel patients who are breastfeeding or who desire to breastfeed that COCs may reduce breast milk production. This is less likely to occur if breastfeeding is well established.
- Counsel any patient who starts COCs postpartum, and who has not yet had a period, to use an additional method of contraception until she has taken a white tablet for 7 consecutive days.
- Counsel patients that amenorrhea may occur. Pregnancy should be considered in the event of amenorrhea, and should be ruled out if amenorrhea is associated with symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness or unusual breast tenderness.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
[See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
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 metaanalyses 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.
Women who do not breastfeed may start COCs no earlier than four to six weeks postpartum.
When possible, advise the nursing mother to use other forms of contraception until she has weaned her child. Estrogen-containing 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.
Safety and efficacy of AMETHIA tablets have been established in women of reproductive age. Safety and efficacy are expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents under the age of 18 as for users 18 years and older. Use of AMETHIA tablets before menarche is not indicated.
AMETHIA tablets have not been studied in women who have reached menopause and is not indicated in this population.
No studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic disease on the disposition of AMETHIA tablets. However, steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
No studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of renal disease on the disposition of AMETHIA tablets.
There have been no reports of serious ill effects from overdose of oral contraceptives, including ingestion by children. Overdosage may cause withdrawal bleeding in females and nausea.
Do not prescribe AMETHIA tablets to women who are known to have the following:
- A high risk of arterial or venous thrombotic diseases. Examples include women who are known to:
- Smoke, if over age 35 [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, now or in the past [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have cerebrovascular disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have coronary artery disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have thrombogenic valvular or thrombogenic rhythm diseases of the heart (for example, subacute bacterial endocarditis with valvular disease, or atrial fibrillation) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have inherited or acquired hypercoagulopathies [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Have uncontrolled hypertension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have diabetes with vascular disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Have headaches with focal neurological symptoms or have migraine headaches with or without aura if over age 35 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Breast cancer or other estrogen- or progestin-sensitive cancer, now or in the past [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Liver tumors, benign or malignant, or liver disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
- Pregnancy, because there is no reason to use COCs during pregnancy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
- Use of Hepatitis C drug combinations containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, due to the potential for ALT elevations [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Mechanism Of action
COCs lower the risk of becoming pregnant primarily by suppressing ovulation. Other possible mechanisms may include cervical mucus changes that inhibit sperm penetration and endometrial changes that reduce the likelihood of implantation.
Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel are absorbed with maximum plasma concentrations occurring within 2 hours after levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol administration. Levonorgestrel is completely absorbed after oral administration (bioavailability nearly 100%) and is not subject to firstpass metabolism. Ethinyl estradiol is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract but, due to first-pass metabolism in gut mucosa and liver, the bioavailability of ethinyl estradiol is approximately 43%.
The daily exposure to levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol on Day 21, corresponding to the end of a typical 3-week contraceptive regimen, and on Day 84, at the end of an extended cycle regimen, were similar. There was no additional accumulation of ethinyl estradiol after dosing a 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol Â tablet during Days 84 to 91. The mean plasma pharmacokinetic parameters of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol following a single dose of one levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol combination tablet, for 84 days, in normal healthy women are reported in Table 3.
Table 3: Mean Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Levonorgestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol and Ethinyl Estradiol during Daily One Tablet (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol combination) Dosing for 84 Days
|AUC0 -24 hr (mean ± SD)||C max (mean ± SD)||T max (mean ± SD)|
|Day 1||18.2 ± 6.1 ng•hr/mL||3.0 ± 1.0 ng/mL||1.3 ± 0.4 hours|
|Day 21||64.4 ± 25.1 ng•hr/mL||6.2 ± 1.6 ng/mL||1.3 ± 0.4 hours|
|Day 84||60.2 ± 24.6 ng•hr/mL||5.5 ± 1.6 ng/mL||1.3 ± 0.3 hours|
|Day 1||509.3 ± 172.0 pg-hr/mL||69.8 ± 26 pg/mL||1.5 ± 0.3 hours|
|Day 21||837.1 ± 271.2 pg-hr/mL||99.6 ± 31 pg/mL||1.5 ± 0.3 hours|
|Day 84||791.5 ± 215.0 pg-hr/mL||91.3 ± 32 pg/mL||1.6 ± 0.3 hours|
The effect of food on the rate and the extent of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol absorption following oral administration of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol has not been evaluated.
The apparent volume of distribution of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol are reported to be approximately 1.8 L/kg and 4.3 L/kg, respectively. Levonorgestrel is about 97.5 to 99% protein-bound, principally to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and, to a lesser extent, serum albumin. Ethinyl estradiol is about 95 to 97% bound to serum albumin. Ethinyl estradiol does not bind to SHBG, but induces SHBG synthesis, which leads to decreased levonorgestrel clearance. Following repeated daily dosing of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol oral contraceptives, levonorgestrel plasma concentrations accumulate more than predicted based on single-dose pharmacokinetics, due in part, to increased SHBG levels that are induced by ethinyl estradiol, and a possible reduction in hepatic metabolic capacity.
Following absorption, levonorgestrel is conjugated at the 17β-OH position to form sulfate and to a lesser extent, glucuronide conjugates in plasma. Significant amounts of conjugated and unconjugated 3α,5β- tetrahydrolevonorgestrel are also present in plasma, along with much smaller amounts of 3α,5α- tetrahydrolevonorgestrel and 16β-hydroxylevonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel and its phase I metabolites are excreted primarily as glucuronide conjugates. Metabolic clearance rates may differ among individuals by several-fold, and this may account in part for the wide variation observed in levonorgestrel concentrations among users.
First-pass metabolism of ethinyl estradiol involves formation of ethinyl estradiol-3-sulfate in the gut wall, followed by 2-hydroxylation of a portion of the remaining untransformed ethinyl estradiol by hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A4 (CYP3A4). Levels of CYP3A4 vary widely among individuals and can explain the variation in rates of ethinyl estradiol hydroxylation. Hydroxylation at the 4-, 6-, and 16-positions may also occur, although to a much lesser extent than 2-hydroxylation. The various hydroxylated metabolites are subject to further methylation and/or conjugation.
About 45% of levonorgestrel and its metabolites are excreted in the urine and about 32% are excreted in feces, mostly as glucuronide conjugates. The terminal elimination half-life for levonorgestrel after a single dose of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol combination tablet) was about 34 hours.
Ethinyl estradiol is excreted in the urine and feces as glucuronide and sulfate conjugates, and it undergoes enterohepatic recirculation. The terminal elimination half-life of ethinyl estradiol after a single dose of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol was found to be about 18 hours.
The effect of race on the pharmacokinetics of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol has not been evaluated.
In a 12-month, multicenter, randomized, open-label clinical trial, 1,006 women aged 18 to 40 were studied to assess the safety and efficacy of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets, completing the equivalent of 8,681 28-day cycles of exposure. The racial demographic of those enrolled was: Caucasian (80%), African American (11%), Hispanic (5%), Asian (2%), and Other (2%). There were no exclusions for body mass index (BMI) or weight. The weight range of those women treated was 91 to 360 lbs., with a mean weight of 156 lbs. Among the women in the trial, 63% were current or recent hormonal contraceptive users, 26% were prior users (who had used hormonal contraceptives in the past but not in the 6 months prior to enrollment), and 11% were new starts. Of treated women, 14.8% were lost to follow-up, 16.3% discontinued due to an adverse event, and 12.9% discontinued by withdrawing their consent.
The pregnancy rate (Pearl Index [PI]) in women aged 18 to 35 years was 1.34 pregnancies per 100 women-years of use (95% confidence interval 0.54 to 2.75), based on 7 pregnancies that occurred after the onset of treatment and within 14 days after the last combination pill. Cycles in which conception did not occur, but which included the use of backup contraception, were not included in the calculation of the PI. The PI includes patients who did not take the drug correctly.
WARNING TO WOMEN WHO SMOKE
Do not use AMETHIA tablets if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Birth control pills help to lower the chances of becoming pregnant. They do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
What Are AMETHIA Tablets?
AMETHIA tablets are a birth control pill. They contain two female hormones, an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol, and a progestin called levonorgestrel.
How Well Do AMETHIA Tablets Work?
Your chance of getting pregnant depends on how well you follow the directions for taking your birth control pills. The more carefully you follow the directions, the less chance you have of getting pregnant.
Based on the results of a single clinical study lasting 12 months, 1 to 3 women, out of 100 women, may get pregnant during the first year they use AMETHIA tablets.
The following chart shows the chance of getting pregnant for women who use different methods of birth control. Each box on the chart contains a list of birth control methods that are similar in effectiveness. The most effective methods are at the top of the chart. The box on the bottom of the chart shows the chance of getting pregnant for women who do not use birth control and are trying to get pregnant.
How Do I Take AMETHIA Tablets?
- 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.
- Many women have spotting or light bleeding, or may feel sick to their stomach during the first few months of taking AMETHIA tablets. 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 provider.
- Missing pills can also cause spotting or light bleeding, even when you take the missed pills later. On the days you take 2 pills to make up for missed pills, you could also feel a little sick to your stomach.
- If you have trouble remembering to take AMETHIA tablets, talk
to your healthcare provider about how to make pill-taking easier or about using another method of birth control.
Before you start taking AMETHIA tablets
- Decide what time of day you want to take your pill. It is important to take it at about the same time every day.
- Look at your Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispenser. Your Tablet Dispenser consists of 3 trays with cards that hold 91 individually sealed pills (a 13-week or 91-day cycle). The 91 pills consist of 84 white and 7 light blue pills. Trays 1 and 2 each contain 28 white pills (4 rows of 7 pills). Tray 3 contains 35 pills consisting of 28 white pills (4 rows of 7 pills) and 7 light blue pills (1 row of 7 pills).
- Also find:
- Where on the first tray in the pack to start taking pills (upper left corner at the Start Here arrow) and
- In what order to take the pills (follow the weeks and arrow).
- Be sure you have ready at all times another kind of birth control (such as condoms or spermicides), to use as a backup in case you miss pills.
When to Start AMETHIA Tablets
- Take the first white pill on the Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start the first white pill that same day.
- Use another method of birth control (such as condoms or spermicides) as a back-up method if you have sex anytime from the Sunday you start your first white pill until the next Sunday (first 7 days). If you have been using a different hormonal method of birth control (such as a different pill, the “patch,” or the “vaginal ring”), you need to use another method of birth control (such as condoms or spermicides) each time you have sex after stopping your old method of birth control until you have taken levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets for 7 days.
How to Take AMETHIA Tablets
- Take one pill at the same time every day until you have taken the last pill in the tablet dispenser.
- Do not skip pills even if you are experiencing spotting or bleeding or feel sick to your stomach (nausea).
- Do not skip pills even if you do not have sex very often.
- When you finish a tablet dispenser
- After taking the last light blue pill, start taking the first white pill from a new Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispenser the very next day (this should be on a Sunday) regardless of when your period started.
- If you miss your scheduled period when you are taking the light blue pills, contact your healthcare provider because you may be pregnant. If you are pregnant, you should stop taking AMETHIA tablets.
What To Do If You Miss Pills
If you MISS 1 white pill:
- 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.
- You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you have sex.
If you MISS 2 white pills in a row:
- Take 2 pills on the day you remember, and 2 pills the next day.
- Then take 1 pill a day until you finish the pack.
- You could become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after you miss two pills. You MUST use another birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up for the 7 days after you restart your pills.
If you MISS 3 OR MORE white pills in a row:
- Do not take the missed pills. Keep taking 1 pill every day as indicated on the pack until you have completed all of the remaining pills in the pack. For example: If you resume taking the pill on Thursday, take the pill under “Thursday” and do not take the missed pills. You may experience bleeding during the week following the missed pills.
- You could become pregnant if you have sex during the days of missed pills or during the first 7 days after restarting your pills.
- You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up when you miss pills and for the first 7 days after you restart your pills. If you do not have your period when you are taking the light blue pills, call your healthcare provider because you may be pregnant.
If you MISS ANY of the 7 light blue pills:
- Throw away the missed pills.
- Keep taking the scheduled pills until the pack is finished.
- You do not need a back-up method of birth control.
Finally, if you are s till not sure what to do about the pills you have missed
- Use a back-up method anytime you have sex.
- Keep taking one pill each day until you contact your healthcare provider.
Who Should Not Take AMETHIA Tablets?
Your healthcare provider will not give you AMETHIA tablets if you have:
- Ever had breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones
- Liver disease, including liver tumors
- Been prescribed any Hepatitis C drug combination containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir. This may increase levels of the liver enzyme “alanine aminotransferase” (ALT) in the blood
- Every have blood clots in your arms, legs, or lungs
- Ever had a stroke
- Ever had a heart attack
- Certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause blood clots to form in the heart
- An inherited problem with your blood that makes it clot more than normal
- High blood pressure that medicine can't control
- Diabetes with kidney, eye, or blood vessel damage
- Certain kinds of severe migraine headaches with aura, numbness, weakness or changes in vision
Also, do not take birth control pills if you:
- Smoke and are over 35 years old
- Are pregnant
Birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) caused by pregnancy.
What Else Should I Know About Taking AMETHIA Tablets?
Birth control pills do not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Do not skip any pills, even if you do not have sex often.
Birth control pills should not be taken during pregnancy. However, birth control pills taken by accident during pregnancy are not known to cause birth defects.
If you are breastfeeding, consider another birth control method until you are ready to stop breastfeeding. Birth control pills that contain estrogen, like AMETHIA tablets, may decrease the amount of milk you make. A small amount of the pill's hormones pass into breast milk.
Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and herbal products that you take. Some medicines and herbal products may make birth control pills less effective, including:
- St. John's wort
Consider using another birth control method when you take medicines that may make birth control pills less effective.
If you have vomiting or diarrhea, your birth control pills may not work as well. Use another birth control method, like condoms or a spermicide, until you check with your healthcare provider.
What Are The Most Serious Risks Of Taking Birth Control Pills?
Like pregnancy, birth control pills increase the risk of serious blood clots, especially in women who have other risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, or age > 35. It is possible to die from a problem caused by a blood clot, such as a heart attack or a stroke. Some examples of serious blood clots are blood clots in the:
- Legs (thrombophlebitis)
- Lungs (pulmonary embolus)
- Eyes (loss of eyesight)
- Heart (heart attack)
- Brain (stroke)
Women who take birth control pills may get:
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder problems
- Rare cancerous or noncancerous liver tumors
All of these events are uncommon in healthy women.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:
- Persistent leg pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Sudden blindness, partial or complete
- Severe pain in your chest
- Sudden, severe headache unlike your usual headaches
- Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or trouble speaking
- Yellowing of the skin or eyeballs
What Are Common Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills?
The most common side effects of birth control pills are:
- Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
- Breast tenderness
These side effects are usually mild and usually disappear with time.
Less common side effects are:
- Less sexual desire
- Bloating or fluid retention
- Blotchy darkening of the skin, especially on the face
- High blood sugar, especially in women who already have diabetes
- High fat levels in the blood
- Depression, especially if you have had depression in the past. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have any thoughts of harming yourself.
- Problems tolerating contact lenses
- Weight changes
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
No serious problems have been reported from a birth control pill overdose, even when accidentally taken by children.
Do Birth Control Pills Cause Cancer?
Birth control pills do no t appear to cause breast cancer. However, if you have breast cancer now, or have had it in the past, do not use birth control pills because some breast cancers are sensitive to hormones.
Women who use birth control pills may have a slightly higher chance of getting cervical cancer. However, this may be due to other reasons such as having more sexual partners.
What Should I Know About My Period When Taking AMETHIA Tablets?
When you take AMETHIA tablets, which have a 91-day extended dosing cycle, you should expect to have 4 scheduled periods per year (bleeding when you are taking the 7 light blue pills). Each period is likely to last about 3 days. However, you will probably have more bleeding or spotting between your scheduled periods than if you were using a birth control pill with a 28-day dosing cycle. During the first AMETHIA tablets 91-day treatment cycle, about 3 in 10 women may have 20 or more days of unplanned bleeding or spotting. This bleeding or spotting tends to decrease with time. Do not stop taking AMETHIA tablets because of this bleeding or spotting. If the spotting continues for more than 7 consecutive days or if the bleeding is heavy, call your healthcare provider.
What If I Miss My Scheduled Period When Taking AMETHIA Tablets?
You should consider the possibility that you are pregnant if you miss your scheduled period (no bleeding on the days that you are taking light blue tablets). Since scheduled periods are less frequent when you are taking AMETHIA tablets, notify your healthcare provider that you have missed your period and that you are taking AMETHIA tablets. Also notify your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness or unusual breast tenderness. It is important that your healthcare provider evaluates you to determine if you are pregnant. Stop taking AMETHIA tablets if it is determined that you are pregnant.
What If I Want To Become Pregnant?
You may stop taking the pill whenever you wish. Consider a visit with your healthcare provider for a pre-pregnancy checkup before you stop taking the pill.
General Advice About AMETHIA Tablets
Your healthcare provider prescribed AMETHIA tablets for you. Do not share AMETHIA tablets with anyone else. Keep AMETHIA tablets out of the reach of children.
If you have concerns or questions, ask your healthcare provider. You may also ask your healthcare providers for a more detailed label written for medical professionals.
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.