What should I watch for?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need a regular breast and pelvic exam and Pap smear while on this medicine.
Use an additional method of contraception during the first cycle that you take these tablets.
If you have any reason to think you are pregnant, stop taking this medicine right away and contact your doctor or health care professional.
If you are taking this medicine for hormone related problems, it may take several cycles of use to see improvement in your condition.
This medicine can make your body retain fluid, making your fingers, hands, or ankles swell. Your blood pressure can go up. Contact your doctor or health care professional if you feel you are retaining fluid.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
If you wear contact lenses and notice visual changes, or if the lenses begin to feel uncomfortable, consult your eye care specialist.
In some women, tenderness, swelling, or minor bleeding of the gums may occur. Notify your dentist if this happens. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly may help limit this. See your dentist regularly and inform your dentist of the medicines you are taking.
If you are going to have elective surgery, you may need to stop taking this medicine before the surgery. Consult your health care professional for advice.
This medicine does not protect you against HIV infection (AIDS) or any other sexually transmitted diseases.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Healthy women who do not smoke cigarettes have almost no chance of having a severe side effect from taking oral contraceptives. For most women, more problems occur because of pregnancy than will occur from taking oral contraceptives. But for some women who have special health problems, oral contraceptives can cause some unwanted effects. Some of these unwanted effects include benign (not cancerous) liver tumors, liver cancer, or blood clots or related problems, such as a stroke. Although these effects are very rare, they can be serious enough to cause death. You may want to discuss these effects with your doctor.
Smoking cigarettes during the use of oral contraceptives has been found to greatly increase the chances of these serious side effects occurring. To reduce the risk of serious side effects, do not smoke cigarettes while you are taking oral contraceptives. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from oral contraceptive use. The risk increases with age and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day) and is quite marked in women over 35 years of age.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
The following side effects may be caused by blood clots. Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Abdominal or stomach pain (sudden, severe, or continuing)
coughing up blood
headache (severe or sudden)
loss of coordination (sudden)
loss of vision or change in vision (sudden)
pains in chest, groin, or leg (especially in calf of leg)
shortness of breath (sudden or unexplained)
slurring of speech (sudden)
weakness, numbness, or pain in arm or leg (unexplained)
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
usually less common after the first 3 months of oral contraceptive use
Changes in the uterine bleeding pattern at menses or between menses, such as decreased bleeding at menses, breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods, prolonged bleeding at menses, complete stopping of menstrual bleeding that occurs over several months in a row, or stopping of menstrual bleeding that only occurs sometimes
Headaches or migraines (although headaches may lessen in many users, in others, they may increase in number or become worse)
increased blood pressure
For women with diabetes mellitus
Mild increase of blood sugar—Faintness, nausea, pale skin, or sweating
For women who smoke tobacco
Pains in stomach, side, or abdomen
yellow eyes or skin
For women with a history of breast disease
Lumps in breast
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Abdominal cramping or bloating
breast pain, tenderness, or swelling
swelling of ankles and feet
unusual tiredness or weakness
Brown, blotchy spots on exposed skin
gain or loss of body or facial hair
increased or decreased interest in sexual intercourse
increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
weight gain or loss
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.