Progestin-only oral contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is a female hormone. It works by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation) and changing the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus. Progestin-only oral contraceptives are a very effective method of birth control, but they do not prevent the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Side Effects Of Progestin-Only Oral Contraceptives
Progestin-only oral contraceptives may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- bleeding that lasts a long time
- lack of menstrual periods
- severe stomach pain
- Combined estrogen and progestin oral contraceptives may increase the risk of getting breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and liver tumors. It is not known whether progestin-only oral contraceptives also increase the risks of these conditions. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
- Progestin-only oral contraceptives may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking progestin-only oral contraceptives:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to progestins, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow food coloring), or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton), phenytoin (Dilantin), and rifampin (Rifadin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had breast lumps or breast cancer, vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods, liver tumors, liver disease, or diabetes.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking progestin-only contraceptives, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. You should not smoke while taking this medication.
Dosage Of Progestin-Only Oral Contraceptives
Progestin-only oral contraceptives come as tablets to take by mouth. They are taken once a day, every day at the same time. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take progestin-only oral contraceptives exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Progestin-only oral contraceptives come in packs of 28 pills. Begin the next pack the day after the last pack is finished.
It is best to start taking progestin-only oral contraceptives on the first day of your menstrual period. If you start taking progestin-only oral contraceptives on another day, use a backup method of birth control (such as a condom and/or a spermicide) for the next 48 hours. If you have had a miscarriage or an abortion, you can start taking progestin-only oral contraceptives the next day.
Progestin-only oral contraceptives are safe for use by breastfeeding mothers. If you are fully breastfeeding (not giving your baby any food or formula), you may start taking this medication 6 weeks after delivery. If you are partially breastfeeding (giving your baby some food or formula), you should start taking this medication by 3 weeks after delivery.
Before taking this medicationm, ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient and read it carefully.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Before you have any laboratory tests, tell the laboratory personnel that you take progestin-only oral contraceptives, as this medication may interfere with some laboratory tests.
Rarely, women can become pregnant even if they are taking oral contraceptives. You should get a pregnancy test if it has been more than 45 days since your last period or if your period is late and you missed one or more doses or took them late and had sex without a backup method of birth control.
If you want to become pregnant, stop taking progestin-only contraceptives. Progestin-only contraceptives should not delay your ability to get pregnant.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.