Ortho Cept is a combination pill of estrogen and progestin. The estrogen part of the pill tricks your body into thinking it is pregnant so that it doesn’t release an egg. The progestin prevents ovulation. The pill causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
If taken correctly on a daily basis, the pill is as much as 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, but there is still a 1% chance that you could get pregnant. Furthermore, missing a pill or taking a pill a few hours later than normal can decrease the effectiveness. Certain medications like antibiotics are also known to increase the chance of your birth control pill failing.
Important Information about Ortho Cept
Use of Ortho Cept can increase your sensitivity to the sun and you may burn more easily. Use sunscreen and protective clothing during long periods outdoors. Tanning booths should be used with caution.
When you first start taking this prescription, make sure you use a back-up method of birth control, such as condoms or a spermicide, as it may not offer full coverage for the first few weeks.
Ortho Cept may increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you smoke and are older than 35.
Do not use Ortho Cept if you have:
- a history of a stroke or blood clot;
- circulation problems (especially if caused by diabetes);
- a hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer;
- abnormal vaginal bleeding;
- liver disease or liver cancer;
- severe high blood pressure;
- severe migraine headaches;
- a heart valve disorder; or
- a history of jaundice caused by birth control pills.
Before using Ortho Cept, tell your doctor if you:
- have high blood pressure, heart disease, congestive heart failure, angina (chest pain), or a history of heart attack;
- have high cholesterol or if you are overweight;
- have a history of depression;
- have gallbladder disease;
- have diabetes;
- have seizures or epilepsy;
- have a history of irregular menstrual cycles; or
- a history of fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, nodules;
- are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Ortho Cept Side Effects
Most severe: Chest pain, coughing up blood, dizziness or fainting spells, leg, arm or groin pain, severe or sudden headaches, stomach pain (severe), sudden shortness of breath, sudden loss of coordination, especially on one side of the body, swelling of the hands, feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain, vision or speech problems, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.
Most common: Breast tissue changes or discharge, changes in vaginal bleeding during your period or between your periods, headaches or migraines, increases in blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes, increases in blood pressure, especially if you are known to have high blood pressure, symptoms of vaginal infection (itching, irritation or unusual discharge), tenderness in the upper abdomen, vomiting, yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Other: Breakthrough bleeding and spotting that continues beyond the 3 initial cycles of pills, breast tenderness, mild stomach upset, mood changes, anxiety, depression, frustration, anger, or emotional outbursts, increased or decreased appetite, increased sensitivity to sun or ultraviolet light, nausea, skin rash, acne, or brown spots on the skin, tiredness, weight gain.
This information is advisory only. It does not contain all information about this medication. If you have any questions about Ortho Cept, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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