You should know about medicines even if you are not a doctor. You might not know all the details about every drug. But you should know about certain drugs, like Levonorgestrel-Ethinyl Estradiol. This is very important, especially if you are a woman. Knowing about this medicine will help you in making better decisions as regards your health. This is because all drugs have both positive effects and side effects. Some may have serious effects, and some have only mild effects. But that doesn’t mean that they are bad. Aside from the side effects that you don’t want, they also exert the positive effects that you want. Experts often weigh the good and bad sides of drugs before they approve them for medical use. They make sure that the good effects outweigh the possible side effects.
When it comes to levonorgestrel-Ethinyl estradiol, it is a combination hormone med. This combination is good for preventing pregnancy. The medication combines 2 hormones. They are Ethinyl estradiol, which is an estrogen, and levonorgestrel, which is a progestin. What it does mainly is to prevent ovulation. In other words, this pill will not allow your ovaries to release eggs during your cycle. But that’s not all. It offers another kind of protection. It thickens vaginal fluid such that it won’t support the movement of sperm towards an egg to fertilize it. The pill affects the womb also to prevent implantation. That makes it three-fold protection. But when it comes to STIs, you can’t count on this pill. It’s only good for preventing pregnancy.
More about Levonorgestrel-Ethinyl Estradiol: How it Works
It is advisable to read the leaflet thoroughly before you use this drug. You should even make it a habit to read the leaflet every time you refill the tablets. You will find vital information there on when you should take the pills, as well as what you can do when you miss any dose.
Well, we will give a few general directives here. First, this is an oral medication. Use it by mouth just as instructed by your physician. Usually, you should take it once daily. And it’s better to stick with the same time daily. Choose a time that you can remember easily.
It is very important to continue taking this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. More so, it is very vital to start with the very first pill of the pack. You can’t start with just anyone. And you can’t take it anyhow too. You must take the pills in the right order.
Don’t miss any doses. If you do, you are more likely to get pregnant. This could also happen if you miss the exact time you usually take it or start another pack late.
It is preferable to take the pill at bedtime or after dinner. This may prevent the side effects of nausea or stomach upset. But that’s not to say that you can’t use it at any other time. The important thing is to keep to the same schedule daily.
If you, by any chance, vomit or have diarrhea within four hours of taking the pill, it’s almost as good as you have missed a dose. Vomiting and/or diarrhea can “waste” the pill and prevent it from doing its work. We will tell you what you should if you miss pills. Well, most leaflets contain instructions on this as well.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects like nausea, headache, breast tenderness, and abdominal cramps are quite normal. You may also notice bloating, fluid retention (causing swollen ankles/feet), as well as weight changes. But if they worsen or persist, reach out to your pharmacist or doctor promptly.
Many women who are on this medication have irregular periods. This is one of the possible side effects and it is quite normal. Remember the hormones in the pill prevent ovulation. So you should expect some irregularities in your period.
You are also likely to experience vaginal bleeding or spotting. This is more common in the first month or so of using the medication. But if you bleed for over 7 days straight, you should reach out to your doctor immediately.
As we said earlier, your doctor prescribed this pill for you because he believes the benefit outweighs any possible risk. So if your doctor prescribes it for you, don’t be afraid. Lots of people use the pill without any serious adverse effects.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind. This medication might raise your BP. So you should monitor your BP regularly and call your doctor’s attention if you start getting high readings.
You should also get your doctor informed if there are any other serious adverse effects. These include:
- Breast lumps
- Mood swings or mental changes (e.g. worsening depression or even a new case)
- Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy bleeding that starts suddenly or continuous spotting)
- Severe stomach or pelvic pain
- Yellowing eyes or skin.
- Bark urine
Other fatal problems can happen when people take this medicine. But they are very rare. They include the following:
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack
Watch out for signs that may indicate any of these fatal problems. If you notice any of these symptoms, get immediate help. It might be a medical emergency:
- Shor or rapid breathing
- Unusual sweating
- Chest, left arm, or jaw pain
- Sudden dizziness or fainting
- Sudden and severe headaches
- Sudden blurred vision or other visual changes
- Slurred speech
- One-sided body weakness
- Signs of an allergic reaction
What If You Miss A Dose?
If you forget to take a pill, you should take 2 pills the following day. Then resume with taking 1 pill daily until the pack finishes. There are separate instructions for when you miss 2 pills back to back. If this happens in the first or second week, the instructions are different from if it happens in the third week. Check the leaflet of your Levonorgestrel-Ethinyl Estradiol pack or the one given to you by your pharmacist for the instructions.