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What is Loestrin?
Loestrin is a combined oral contraceptive pill. Contraceptives stop you from becoming pregnant. There are two types - barrier methods, such as condoms, and hormonal methods, such as contraceptive pills, implants, patches and injections. Combined oral contraceptives are commonly known as birth control pills.
Loestrin is a pill that you swallow every day. Taking oral contraceptives such as Loestrin is one of the most reliable methods of contraception, and when used correctly to prevent pregnancy they are around 99% effective . Loestrin can be taken by most women who are non-smokers.
Oral contraceptives are prescription medication. They are available from your doctor or pharmacist with a valid prescription. Alternatively, we can prescribe them to you following an online consultation. Contact us to find out more.
Loestrin contains two active ingredients - norethisterone acetate and ethinylestradiol. If you require more information about Loestrin, please consult the patient information leaflet.
How it works
Loestrin works in the same way as other combined contraceptive pills. It contains two hormones that you produce naturally in your body - progesterone and oestrogen. These two hormones prevent you from becoming pregnant by stopping your body releasing an egg each month (ovulation), thickening cervical mucus to stop sperm from entering the womb, and thinning the lining of the womb to stop an egg implanting itself.
Oral contraceptives such as Loestrin take up to seven days to begin working, depending on at what point during your menstrual cycle you begin taking it. During this initial seven day period, you should use additional contraceptive measures, such as condoms, as Loestrin may not fully protect you from pregnancy.
There are two different types of Loestrin - Loestrin 20 and Loestrin 30. You should speak with your doctor to ascertain which one is most suitable for you.
Before you take it
You should not take Loestrin if you are allergic to the active ingredients norethisterone acetate and ethinylestradiol, or any of the other inactive ingredients in the medication. Speak to your doctor, who will be able to offer an alternative, more suitable method of contraception.
Loestrin will not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. No hormonal contraceptive or combined pill can do this. If you believe you are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, you should use additional barrier methods of contraception such as condoms.
Loestrin contains lactose. If you are allergic to lactose or any other types of sugar, you should speak with your doctor who will be able to recommend another method of contraception.
Emergency contraception, such as the morning after pill (ellaOne or Levonelle) may make Loestrin less effective. You must use additional contraception for 14 days after taking emergency contraception for Loestrin to become effective again.
If you are over 35 and smoke, you must not take Loestrin. You must speak with your doctor to discuss an alternative method of contraception.
Your doctor may wish to carry out more regular medical examinations while you are taking Loestrin. They may wish to examine your breasts or conduct a cervical smear test. You should monitor your own breasts and check for abnormalities, as Loestrin has been known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor for more information.
Loestrin, like other oral contraceptives, can increase your risk of experiencing blood clotting and deep vein thrombosis. This risk is minimal, however you should discuss this with your doctor if you have ever experienced thrombosis or blood clotting before. In some cases, blood clots can be fatal.
Do not take other hormonal contraceptives alongside Loestrin. It’s safe to combine using Loestrin with additional methods of contraception such as condoms, as well as other barrier methods such as vaginal films.
You should not take Loestrin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You must use an alternative method of contraception in this case.
Loestrin does not affect your ability to drive or use machinery.
Do not take Loestrin if any of the following apply to you:
- You are severely overweight or obese
- You have ever been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer
- You have ever experienced vaginal bleeding and you do not know the cause
- You have ever experienced blood clotting
- You have sickle cell anaemia
- You have experienced jaundice when taking oral contraceptives in the past
- You have diabetes
- You are depressed
- You have kidney problems or liver disease
- You have had a heart attack or heart disease
Loestrin may also interact with other medicines. You must not take Loestrin without speaking to your doctor if you are also taking any of the following:
- St John’s Wort for depression
- Epilepsy medications such as carbamazepine or phenobarbital
- Medications to treat infection such as griseofulvin or rifampicin
- HIV treatments such as ritonavir or efavirenz
- High cholesterol medications such as Atorvastatin
- Pain relief medication such as paracetamol
- Prednisolone to treat allergies and infections
This is not an exhaustive list of warnings and interactions. You should consult the patient information leaflet or speak with your doctor for more information.
You should always take Loestrin exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has prescribed. Never exceed the stated dose. If you are in any way unsure of how to take it, consult your doctor or healthcare professional. Loestrin is for female use only.
You must be sure you are not pregnant before taking Loestrin. If you are in any doubt, take a pregnancy test.
Loestrin comes as a calendar pack of 21 pills, designed to be taken over a 21 day period. Each pill is marked with the corresponding day of the week. You must take one pill every day for 21 days, and then have a 7 day break, during which you will take no pills. If you are taking Loestrin correctly, you should start a new pack on the same day every 4 weeks.
During the 7 day break, you should not need any additional contraception. If you have taken your pills correctly, and are starting your new pack on time, you will be protected from pregnancy. During this 7 day period, you will experience withdrawal bleeding. This is normal. Start your new pack on the correct day, even if you are still bleeding.
If you have not used Loestrin before, you should start taking it on the first day of your next period. Take your pills at the same time every day.
Store Loestrin pills in a cool, dry place, free from moisture and heat. Keep them out of the reach of children and pets.
Common Side Effects of Loestrin
Loestrin, like other medications, may cause side effects. Usually these are not serious, and should go away on their own as you become used to the medication. However, if they persist, or become more severe, speak to your doctor. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or bloating
- Lighter periods or no periods at all
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal bleeding
- Weight loss or weight gain
Loestrin may cause more serious side effects. These are comparatively rare, but if you experience them you should go to your doctor. They can include:
- Vascular problems, leading to blood clots
- Water retention
- High blood pressure
- Problems with vision
- Pain or tingling in any area of your body
It’s also possible for Loestrin to cause a serious allergic reaction. This is extremely rare, but if you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction this is an emergency and you must immediately seek medical advice. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of the face, tongue, eyelids or mouth
- Difficulty breathing or speaking
- Tightness in the chest or throat
This is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects. For a full list, speak to your doctor or consult the patient information leaflet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if I become pregnant?
It is extremely unlikely that you will become pregnant while taking Loestrin. Loestrin is up to 99% effective when taken correctly. As a result, most pregnancies that occur while taking Loestrin are as a result of a dosing mistake. Make sure you follow the dosage instructions exactly if you do not wish to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking Loestrin, go to your doctor or family planning clinic.
What happens if I vomit or have diarrhoea?
Because Loestrin is absorbed through the lining of the stomach, if you vomit or have diarrhoea within 2 hours of taking it, it may not have been absorbed into the bloodstream correctly. Take the pill again, and continue to take your pills as prescribed.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you miss your dose of Loestrin, you should take it as soon as you remember. If you remember to take your dose within 24 hours of when you should have taken it, you should still be protected from pregnancy. However, if you leave it longer than this, you may not be protected, and you should use additional methods of contraception for the next 7 days.
What happens if I take too much?
If you take too much Loestrin, this is unlikely to cause you any serious harm, but you should talk to your doctor straight away. You may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, or bleeding from the vagina.
|Dosage Instructions||Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.|