Discontinuation Alert: Loestrin 24 Fe

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Another drug has been discontinued! The birth control pill Loestrin 24 Fe has been discontinued by the manufacturer, Warner Chilcott. If you or someone you know take Loestrin 24 Fe, here is what you need to know:

What is Loestrin 24 Fe?
Loestrin 24 Fe (norethindrone acetate, ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate) is an oral contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy. The two hormones prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation, making fertilization more difficult, and reducing the likelihood of implantation of fertilized eggs. Loestrin 24 Fe provides a low dose of these hormones, supplemented with iron. This low dose carries the advantage of having a lower risk of adverse effects associated with hormonal birth control. It also uses only four placebo pills, compared to other seven-day placebos, resulting in shorter menstrual cycles.

Why the discontinuation?

The manufacturer is no longer making Loestrin 24 Fe—this means that it was not discontinued for safety reasons, or because of any issues with effectiveness. No further supply will be available through distributors and pharmacies, but any supply currently in pharmacies is still safe and effective to use before it runs out.

But wait, what if you are taking Loestrin 24 Fe?

The drug manufacturer has replaced Loestrin 24 Fe with Minastrin 24 Fe, a chewable tablet. Minastrin 24 Fe has the same ingredients (norethindrone acetate, ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate) and is considered bioequivalent to Loestrin 24 Fe. Bioequivalence is a term used to describe medications with the same active ingredients that are equal in terms of safety and effectiveness.

What do you need to know about Minastrin 24 Fe?

Although Minastrin 24 Fe is essentially replacing Loestrin 24 Fe on the market, you will need a new prescription for it. Ask your pharmacist to get in touch with your prescriber to get a new prescription, or request one at your next office visit. Also, since Minastrin 24 Fe is new and brand-name only, your co-pay or out of pocket cost may be different. If the price doesn’t work for you, check with your healthcare provider to see what other options may be available.

Minastrin 24 Fe is a chewable tablet, which can be swallowed whole or chewed. It should be taken every day at the same time to have the best effect. Like other oral contraceptives, it should not be used if you have blood clots or clotting disorders, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, or if you are pregnant. Smoking, especially in women over 35, increases the risk of serious cardiovascular adverse events when on oral contraceptives.

Talk to your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Till next week,

The GoodRx Pharmacist

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