Drug Information for Loestrin 24 Fe (Warner Chilcott (US), LLC): PATIENT BRIEF SUMMARY

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  • This product (like all oral contraceptives) is intended to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    Oral contraceptives, also known as "birth control pills" or "the pill", are taken to prevent pregnancy, and when taken correctly without missing any pills, have a failure rate of about 1% per year (1 pregnancy per 100 women per year of use). The typical failure rate of pill users is 5% (5 pregnancies per 100 women per year of use) when women who miss pills are included.

    For the majority of women, oral contraceptives can be taken safely. But for some women oral contraceptive use is associated with certain serious medical problems that can be life-threatening or may cause temporary or permanent disability or death. The risks associated with taking oral contraceptives increase significantly if you:

    • Smoke
    • Have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or are obese
    • Have or have had clotting disorders, heart attack, stroke, angina pectoris (severe chest pains), cancer of the breast or sex organs, jaundice, or malignant or benign liver tumors

    You should not take the pill if you are pregnant or have unexplained vaginal bleeding.

    Although cardiovascular disease risks may be increased with oral contraceptive use after age 40 in healthy, non-smoking women (even with the newer low-dose formulations), there are also greater potential health risks associated with pregnancy in older women.

    Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases with age and with the amount of smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day has been associated with a significantly increased risk) and is quite marked in women over 35 years of age. Women who use oral contraceptives should not smoke.

    Most side effects of the pill are not serious. The most common are nausea, vomiting, bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, weight gain, breast tenderness, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. These side effects, especially nausea and vomiting, may decrease or subside within the first three months of use.

    The serious side effects of the pill occur very infrequently, especially if you are in good health and do not smoke. However, you should know that the following medical conditions have been associated with or made worse by the pill:

    1. Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), stoppage or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (stroke), blockage of blood vessels in the heart (heart attack or angina pectoris), or other organs of the body. As mentioned above, smoking increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes and subsequent serious medical consequences. Women with migraine headaches also may be at increased risk of stroke when taking the pill.

    2. Liver tumors, which may rupture and cause severe bleeding. A possible but not definite association has been found with the pill and liver cancer. However, liver cancers are extremely rare. The chance of developing liver cancer from using the pill is thus even rarer.

    3. High blood pressure, although blood pressure usually returns to normal when the pill is stopped.

    The symptoms associated with these serious side effects are discussed in the DETAILED PATIENT INFORMATION leaflet given to you with your supply of pills. Notify your healthcare provider if you notice any unusual physical disturbances while taking the pill. In addition, drugs such as rifampin, as well as some anticonvulsants and some antibiotics, and herbal preparations containing St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum), may decrease oral contraceptive effectiveness.

    Breast cancer has been diagnosed slightly more often in women who use the pill than in women of the same age who do not use the pill. This very small increase in the number of breast cancer diagnoses gradually disappears during the 10 years after stopping use of the pill. It is not known whether the difference is caused by the pill. It may be that women taking the pill are examined more often, so that breast cancer is more likely to be detected. You should have regular breast examinations by a healthcare provider and examine your own breasts monthly. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a family history of breast cancer or if you have had breast nodules or an abnormal mammogram. Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use hormonal contraceptives because breast cancer is usually a hormone-sensitive tumor.

    Some studies have found an increase in the incidence of cancer or precancerous lesions of the cervix in women who use the pill. However, this finding may be related to factors other than the use of the pill.

    Taking the combination pill provides some important noncontraceptive health benefits. These include less painful menstruation, less menstrual blood loss and anemia, fewer pelvic infections, and fewer cancers of the ovary and the lining of the uterus.

    Be sure to discuss any medical condition you may have with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will take a medical and family history before prescribing oral contraceptives and will examine you. The physical examination may be delayed to another time if you request it and the healthcare provider believes that it is a good medical practice to postpone it. You should be reexamined at least once a year while taking oral contraceptives. The DETAILED PATIENT INFORMATION leaflet gives you further information which you should read and discuss with your healthcare provider.

    DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

    HOW TO TAKE Loestrin 24 Fe

  • IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS:

    • BE SURE TO READ THESE DIRECTIONS:
      • Before you start taking your pills
      • Anytime you are not sure what to do
    • TAKE ONE PILL EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME. If you miss pills you could get pregnant. This includes starting the pack late. The more pills you miss, the more likely you are to get pregnant.
    • MANY WOMEN HAVE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, OR MAY FEEL SICK TO THEIR STOMACH WHILE TAKING THE FIRST 1 to 3 PACKS OF PILLS.If you have spotting or light bleeding or feel sick to your stomach, do not stop taking the pill. The problem will usually go away. If it doesn't go away, check with your healthcare provider.
    • MISSING PILLS CAN ALSO CAUSE SPOTTING OR LIGHT BLEEDING, even if you take these missed pills. On the days you take 2 pills to make up for missed pills, you could also feel a little sick to your stomach.
    • IF YOU HAVE VOMITING (within 3 to 4 hours after you take your pill), you should follow the instructions for WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS PILLS. IF YOU HAVE DIARRHEA or IF YOU TAKE CERTAIN MEDICINES, including some antibiotics, or the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort, your pills may not work as well. Use a back-up method of birth control (such as condoms or spermicide) until you check with your healthcare provider.
    • IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING TO TAKE THE PILL, talk to your healthcare provider about how to make pill-taking easier or about using another method of birth control.
    • IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ARE UNSURE ABOUT THE INFORMATION IN THIS LEAFLET, call your healthcare provider.
  • BEFORE YOU START TAKING YOUR PILLS

  • 1. DECIDE WHAT TIME OF DAY YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR PILL.It is important to take it at about the same time every day.

    2. LOOK AT YOUR PILL PACK: Loestrin 24 Fe contains 24 "active" WHITE PILLS (with hormones) for WEEKS 1, 2, 3 and the first part of WEEK 4, and 4 "reminder" BROWN PILLS (without hormones) for the last part of WEEK 4.

    3. ALSO FIND:

    • where on the pack to start taking pills,
    • in what order to take the pills (follow the arrows), and
    • the week numbers as shown in the picture above.

    4. BE SURE YOU HAVE READY AT ALL TIMES:

    • ANOTHER KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL (such as condoms or spermicide) to use as a back-up in case you miss pills.
    • AN EXTRA, PILL PACK.
  • WHEN TO START THE FIRST PACK OF PILLS

  • You have a choice of which day to start taking your first pack of pills. Decide with your healthcare provider which is the best day for you. Pick a time of day that will be easy to remember.

    DAY-1 START:

    • Pick the day label strip that starts with the first day of your period. (This is the day you start bleeding or spotting, even if it is almost midnight when the bleeding begins.)
    • Place this day label strip on the tablet dispenser over the area that has the days of the week (starting with Sunday) printed on the plastic.
    • Take the first white pill of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.
    • You will not need to use a back-up method of birth control, since you are starting the pill at the beginning of your period.

    SUNDAY START:

    • Take the first white pill of the first pack on the Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start the pack that same day.
    • Use another method of birth control as a back-up method if you have sex anytime from the Sunday you start your first pack until the next Sunday (7 days). Condoms or spermicide are good back-up methods of birth control.

    WHEN YOU SWITCH FROM A DIFFERENT METHOD OF HORMONAL CONTRACEPTION

    • If your previous method had 28 pills, finish taking all 28 pills, then start taking Loestrin 24 Fe on the day after the last pill.
    • If your previous method had 21 pills, finish taking all 21 pills, and wait 7 days before starting Loestrin 24 Fe.
    • When you switch from a vaginal ring or skin patch, finish the 21 days of use, and wait 7 days after removal of the ring or patch before starting Loestrin 24 Fe.
    • When you switch from a progestin-only pill, you should start Loestrin 24 Fe the next day.
    • When you switch from an implant or injectable contraceptive, you should start Loestrin 24 Fe on the day of implant removal or, if using an injectable contraceptive, the day on which the next injection would be due.
  • WHAT TO DO DURING THE MONTH

    • TAKE ONE PILL AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY UNTIL THE PACK IS EMPTY. Do not skip pills even if you are spotting or bleeding between monthly periods or feel sick to your stomach (nausea). Do not skip pills even if you do not have sex very often.
    • WHEN YOU FINISH A PACK OF YOUR Loestrin 24 Fe: Start the next pack on the day after your last brown “reminder" pill. Do not wait any days between packs.
  • WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS PILLS

  • Birth control pills may not be as effective if you miss any white pills, and particularly if you miss the first few or the last few white pills in a pack.

    If you MISS 1 white pill:

    • Take it as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at your regular time. This means you may take 2 pills in 1 day.
    • You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you have sex.

    If you MISS 2 white pills in a row in WEEK 1 OR WEEK 2 of your pack:

    • Take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day.
    • Then take 1 pill a day until you finish the pack.
    • You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex during the 7 days after you restart your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up for those 7 days.

    If you MISS 2 white pills in a row in WEEK 3 or WEEK 4 of your pack:

    • 1.If you are a Day 1 Starter:THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day. If you are a Sunday Starter: Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday.On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    • You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare provider because you might be pregnant.
    • You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex during the 7 days after you restart your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up for those 7 days after you restart your pills.

    If you MISS 3 OR MORE white pills in a row at any time:

    • If you are a Day 1 Starter:THROW OUT the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day. If you are a Sunday Starter:Keep taking 1 pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills that same day.
    • You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare provider because you might be pregnant.
    • You COULD BECOME PREGNANT if you have sex on the days when you missed pills or during the first 7 days after restarting your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as condoms or spermicide) as a back-up the next time you have sex and for the first 7 days after you restart your pills.

    If you forget any of the 4 brown "reminder" pills in Week 4:

    • THROW AWAY the pills you missed.
    • Keep taking 1 pill each day until the pack is empty.
    • You do not need to use a back-up method of birth control.

    FINALLY, IF YOU ARE STILL NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE PILLS YOU HAVE MISSED:

    • Use a BACK-UP METHOD of birth control anytime you have sex.
    • KEEP TAKING ONE WHITE PILL EACH DAY until you can reach your healthcare provider.
  • Drug Information Provided by National Library of Medicine (NLM).
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