Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional. Brands and generics both contain the same active ingredient(s) and are medically equivalent. Some brands are marketed under different names by the same manufacturing country depending on the country of origin.
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Loestrin (ethinylestradiol, norethisteron) is a combined oral birth control for women. The medication includes both an estrogen and a progestin, and works to prevent pregnancy in three ways:
Used correctly, Loestrin will prevent 99 percent of pregnancies. Unfortunately not everyone uses the medication correctly, which means the practical number of prevented pregnancies is closer to 97 percent.
Loestrin should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding. It may cause birth defects; it is very unlikely to cause abortion or miscarriage, even at high doses. Individuals unable or unwilling to seek professional help with terminating a pregnancy may be interested in the medication misoprostol.
Loestrin comes in tablets. Each package contains 28 pills, 21 of which are active and 7 of which are not; the 7 inactive tablets exist simply to keep the patient in the habit of taking one pill per day. The 7 inactive tablets are a different color than the 21 active tablets.
Like most combined oral birth control a Loestrin tablet should be taken once per day, ideally at the same time each day. This is where many people struggle; it can be difficult to always remember to take a tablet, especially at the same time each day, depending on how chaotic one's life may be. In these cases a different form of birth control may be desirable, such as Depo-Provera injections, which are administered just once every three months.
It takes at least seven days from starting treatment to be protected from pregnancy. Other methods of birth control should be utilized for the first week of Loestrin use.
To get started on Loestrin:
Even the most conscientious patients will occasionally miss a pill. Missed pills can be rectified to some extent:
Tablets can be taken with or without food as desired. If experiencing severe vomiting or diarrhea, the effectiveness of Loestrin may be impacted; utilize other methods of birth control for 7 days after the illness passes.
Taken as directed, women are protected from unwanted pregnancies and the difficult choice to have a child or terminate a pregnancy.
Side Effects from Loestrin
Loestrin can cause side effects, most of which aren't very severe and many of which will stop occurring after the first few months of treatment. Most commonly reported are:
Much more rare side effects which warrant immediate medical attention include:
Note that Loestrin will not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. If concerned about STDs, a condom should be used.
Women with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, history of hormone-positive cancer, and those who smoke---especially if over age 35---should discuss risks with a doctor before using Loestrin. Other birth control methods may be safer to use.