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Ethinyl Estradiol and Desogestrel
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Ethinyl Estradiol and Desogestrel Overview

Written by FoundHealth.

(ETH in il es tra DYE ole & des oh JES trel)

U.S. Brand Names

Apri®; Azurette®; Cesia™; Cyclessa®; Desogen®; Kariva™; Mircette®; Ortho-Cept®; Reclipsen™; Solia™; Velivet™

Canadian Brand Names

Cyclessa®; Linessa®; Marvelon®; Ortho-Cept®

Mexican Brand Names


Pharmacologic Category

Contraceptive; Estrogen and Progestin Combination

What key warnings should I know about before taking this medicine?

• You should not smoke while taking birth control pills. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious heart and blood-related side effects. This risk increases with age (older than 35 years of age) and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day). Birth control pills do not prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.

• This medicine does not mix well with some medicines. Serious reactions may occur. Check all medicines with healthcare provider.

Reasons not to take this medicine

• If you have an allergy to ethinyl estradiol, desogestrel, or any other part of this medicine.

• Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.

• If you have any of the following conditions: Blood clots, breast cancer, diseased arteries in the brain, disease of a heart valve with complications, endometrial cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, liver tumor, severe headache, tumor where estrogen makes it grow, or unexplained vaginal bleeding.

• If you have major surgery and need bedrest.

• If you have not started menstruating.

• If you turned yellow during pregnancy or with estrogen-based or hormone contraceptive use.

• If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

How does it work?

• The ethinyl estradiol and desogestrel combination prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation (egg release) through a variety of hormonal changes. Changes in cervical mucus and endometrium making it difficult for sperm to penetrate and form a fertilized egg that can attach to the uterine lining.

• It affects the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.

How is it best taken?

• Follow directions given by healthcare provider or read the package insert.

• Take this medicine at a similar time of day.

What do I do if I miss a dose? (does not apply to patients in the hospital)

• Take a missed dose as soon as possible and return to your regular schedule.

• Missed dosing information can be found in the package insert or call healthcare provider for instructions.

What should I monitor?

• Change in condition being treated. Is it better, worse, or about the same?

• If you are taking a blood thinner, check blood work (prothrombin time/INR). Talk with healthcare provider.

• Check blood pressure and heart rate regularly. Talk with healthcare provider.

• If you are diabetic, you will need to monitor blood sugars closely.

• Check blood work (cholesterol panel). Talk with healthcare provider.

• Have a yearly eye exam.

• Periodic breast (monthly self-exam) and yearly gynecologic exams are important.

• If you miss two menstrual periods in a row, take a pregnancy test before starting a new dosing cycle.

• Follow up with healthcare provider yearly.

How should I store this medicine?

• Store at room temperature.

• Protect from moisture. Do not store in a bathroom or kitchen.

General statements

• If you have a life-threatening allergy, wear allergy identification at all times.

• Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.

• Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.

• Most medicines can be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.

• Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, natural products, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physician assistant).

• Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or in Canada to Health Canada's Canada Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.

• Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter, natural products, or vitamins.

• Read the package insert for more details.

Created: 2006-10-13 12:26:16.0

Modified: 2010-04-07 10:29:03.0

Lexi-PALS TM © (1977)-(2007) Lexi-Comp, Inc. All rights reserved.



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