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All about: Ogestrel

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Generic Name: Norgestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (nor-JES-trel/ETH-in-il es-tra-DYE-ole)
Brand Name: Examples include Lo/Ovral and Ogestrel

Smoking cigarettes while using Ogestrel increases your chance of having heart problems. Do not smoke while using Ogestrel . The risk of heart problems increases with age and with frequent smoking. Women older than 35 years of age and women who smoke 15 or more cigarettes per day are at a greater risk for heart problems.


Ogestrel is used for:

Preventing pregnancy. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ogestrel is a combination birth control pill. It works by preventing ovulation, altering the cervical mucus, and changing the lining of the uterus.

Do NOT use Ogestrel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Ogestrel
  • you have a history of blood clotting problems; heart disease; irregular heartbeat due to clotting problems; blood vessel problems (eg, blood flow problems in the brain or heart, stroke); chest pain (eg, heart attack, angina); certain types of headaches or migraines; uncontrolled high blood pressure; diabetes that affects circulation; breast cancer; endometrial, cervical, or vaginal cancer; estrogen-dependent growths; undiagnosed vaginal bleeding; yellowing of the eyes or skin due to pregnancy or prior birth control use; or liver disease or tumors
  • you know or suspect that you are pregnant
  • you have had surgery and are confined to a bed or a chair for an extended period of time

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Ogestrel :

Some medical conditions may interact with Ogestrel . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have endometriosis, growths in the uterus, abnormal mammogram, irregular menstrual periods, a lump in the breast, heart problems, diabetes, headaches or migraines, gallbladder problems, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or lipid levels, kidney problems, blood problems (eg, porphyria), blood in the urine, depression or other mental/mood problems, lupus, chorea, high blood calcium levels, yellowing of the eyes or skin, pancreas problems (eg, pancreatitis), seizures (eg, epilepsy), or a history of cancer
  • if you are overweight, you have not yet had your first menstrual period, or you use tobacco

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Ogestrel . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Aprepitant, azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole, itraconazole), barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), bosentan, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, felbamate, griseofulvin, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), modafinil, nevirapine, oxcarbazepine, penicillins (eg, amoxicillin), rifabutin, rifampin, phenylbutazone, primidone, tetracyclines (eg, doxycycline), topiramate, troglitazone, or St. John's wort because the effectiveness of Ogestrel may be decreased, resulting in breakthrough bleeding or pregnancy
  • Atorvastatin, indinavir, or troleandomycin because they may increase the risk of Ogestrel 's side effects.
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), corticosteroids (eg, prednisolone), cyclosporine, or theophylline because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Ogestrel
  • Clofibric acid, morphine, lamotrigine, salicylic acid, or temazepam because their effectiveness may be decreased by Ogestrel

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Ogestrel may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Ogestrel :

Use Ogestrel as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Ogestrel by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Begin taking Ogestrel on the first Sunday following the start of your period, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If your period begins on a Sunday, begin taking Ogestrel on that day. Try to take Ogestrel at the same time every day, not more than 24 hours apart. After taking the last pill in the pack, start taking the first pill from a new pack the very next day.
  • Ogestrel works best if it is taken at the same time each day. Do not skip doses.
  • If you miss 1 dose of Ogestrel , take it as soon as you remember. Take your next dose at the regular time. This means you may take 2 doses on the same day. You do not need to use a backup method of birth control if you only miss 1 pill. If you miss more than 1 active dose of Ogestrel , read the extra patient information leaflet that comes with Ogestrel or contact your doctor for instructions. You must use a backup method of birth control if you miss more than 1 active dose of Ogestrel . If you are not sure about how to handle miss doses, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms) and talk with your doctor.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Ogestrel .

Important safety information:

  • Ogestrel may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Ogestrel with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for examining your own breasts and report any lumps immediately.
  • If you will be having surgery or will be confined to a bed or chair for a long period of time (such as a long plane flight), notify your doctor 3 to 4 weeks ahead of time. Special precautions may need to be taken in these circumstances while taking Ogestrel .
  • Ogestrel may cause dark skin patches on your face. Exposure to the sun may make these patches darker. If patches develop, use a sunscreen or protected clothing when exposed to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths.
  • Use of Ogestrel will not prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Bleeding or spotting may occur while taking Ogestrel . Do not stop taking Ogestrel if this occurs. If bleeding or spotting continues for more than 7 days or is heavy, contact your doctor.
  • Ogestrel may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, blood clots, high blood pressure, or similar problems. The risk may be greater if you smoke.
  • Ogestrel may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking Ogestrel .
  • Taking certain antibiotics, anticonvulsants, or other medicines, as listed in the interactions section, while you are using Ogestrel may decrease the effectiveness of Ogestrel . To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control until your next period.
  • If you wear contact lens and you develop problems with them, contact your doctor.
  • If you miss your period during the week of inactive pills, call your doctor immediately. A missed period may indicate that you are pregnant.
  • Ogestrel may take time to wear off after your last dose. You may not be able to become pregnant for several months after stopping Ogestrel .Discuss any concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Lab tests, including PAP tests, may be performed while you use Ogestrel . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Ogestrel is not recommended for use in CHILDREN who have not had their first menstrual period. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Ogestrel if you are pregnant. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Ogestrel is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Ogestrel .

Possible side effects of Ogestrel :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Acne; breast tenderness or enlargement; changes in appetite; changes in sexual interest; changes in weight; dizziness; hair loss; headache; nausea; stomach cramps or bloating; unusual spotting or bleeding; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); breast discharge; breast lumps; calf/leg pain, swelling, or tenderness; change in amount of urine produced; change in vaginal secretions; changes in vision or speech; confusion; coughing of blood; crushing chest pain or heaviness in the chest; dark-colored urine; depression; difficulty sleeping; difficulty wearing contact lenses; fainting; fluid retention (swelling of the fingers and ankles); lack of energy; light-colored bowel movements; mental or mood changes; missed menstrual period; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; persistent headache or migraines; persistent or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding; persistent or severe dizziness; severe pain or tenderness in the stomach; sudden partial or complete loss of vision; sudden severe headache or vomiting; shortness of breath; tiredness; vaginal irritation or discharge; weakness; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include nausea; vaginal bleeding; vomiting.

Proper storage of Ogestrel :

Store Ogestrel at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Ogestrel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Ogestrel , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ogestrel is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Ogestrel . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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