levonorgestrel - ethinyl estradiol
In this drug factsheet:DIN (Drug Identification Number)
|02236974 ||ALESSE 21 TABLETS|
|02236975 ||ALESSE 28 TABLETS|
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Levonorgestrel - ethinyl estradiol is a progestin (levonorgestrel) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) combination birth control pill used to prevent pregnancy. The ingredients of this medication primarily work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in the mucus of the cervix, which make it difficult for sperm to penetrate and for an egg to implant.
This medication may also be used to treat acne in women 14 years of age and older who are able to use birth control pills and have had a period.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
How should I use this medication?
21-day pack: Take 1 tablet daily for 21 days, then take no pills for 7 days, and then begin the next pack.
28-day pack: Take 1 tablet daily for 21 days, then take 1 "reminder" pill daily for 7 days, and then begin the next pack.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Talk with your doctor about the best time to start your pills. The first day of your menstrual period (bleeding) is known as "Day 1." Your doctor may have you start your pills on the first Sunday after your period starts or on Day 1 or Day 5 of your period. The pills should be taken approximately the same time every day, preferably after the evening meal or at bedtime. These pills can be taken with or without food.
You should use a second method of birth control (e.g., latex condoms and spermicidal foam or gel) for the first 7 days of the first cycle of pill use. Many women have spotting or light bleeding or may feel sick to their stomach during the first 3 months taking the pill. If you do feel sick, do not stop taking the pill – the problem will usually go away. If it does not go away, check with your doctor or clinic.
If you have vomiting or diarrhea, or if you take certain medications such as antibiotics, your pills may not work as well. If you vomit a dose of the medication within 4 hours of taking it, the absorption of the medication may not be complete. Treat this as a missed dose and follow the instructions for a missed dose. Reducing the number of doses taken during the month may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
If you start a new medication while taking birth control pills, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that it will not reduce the effectiveness of the pills. Use a backup method of birth control, such as latex condoms and spermicidal foam or gel, until you can check with your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss pills at any time, the risk of becoming pregnant increases. If you miss one pill, take it as soon as you remember, and take the next pill at the usual time. This means that you might take 2 pills in one day.
If you miss 2 pills in a row during the first 2 weeks of your cycle, take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day. Then take one pill a day until you finish the pack. Use a second method of birth control if you have sex in the 7 days after you missed the pills.
If you start your pills on Sunday and you miss 2 pills in a row during the third week of your cycle or 3 or more pills in a row anytime in your cycle, keep taking one pill a day until Sunday. On Sunday, safely discard the rest of the pack and start a new pack that day. Use a second method of birth control if you have sex in the 7 days after you missed the pills.
If you start your pills on a day other than Sunday and you miss 2 pills in a row during the third week of your cycle or 3 or more pills at anytime during your cycle, safely dispose of the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day. Use another method of birth control if you have sex in the 7 days after you missed the pills. You may not have a period this month. If you miss 2 periods in a row, call your doctor or clinic.
See the package insert for more information on what to do should you forget to take a pill. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each pale pink tablet contains levonorgestrel 100 µg and ethinyl estradiol 20 µg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polacrilin potassium, polyethylene glycol, synthetic red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, and wax E.
Each pale pink tablet contains levonorgestrel 100 µg and ethinyl estradiol 20 µg. The white tablets are inactive. Nonmedicinal ingredients: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polacrilin potassium, polyethylene glycol, synthetic red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, and wax E; white tablets: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polacrilin potassium, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, and wax E.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to levonorgestrel, ethinyl estradiol, or any ingredients of the medication
- are or may be pregnant
- have or have had migraine headaches with auras
- have blood clots or have a history of developing blood clots in the blood vessels
- have active liver disease or decreased liver function
- have any eye lesion resulting from blood vessel disease of the eye, such as partial or complete loss of vision or defect in visual fields
- have diabetes with blood vessel complications (e.g., heart disease, eye disease, kidney disease, foot infections)
- have had a heart attack
- have, have had, or may have an estrogen-dependent tumour
- have, have had, or may have breast cancer
- have heart rhythm disorders that may produce blood clots
- have or have had benign or cancerous liver tumours
- have or have had cerebrovascular disorders (blood vessel problems in the brain such as stroke)
- have or have had coronary artery disease
- have or have had disease involving the heart valves
- have or have had thrombophlebitis (inflammation of blood vessels) or thromboembolic (blood clotting) disorders
- have uncontrolled high blood pressure
- have undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding