Levlen, also known as ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel, is a combination birth control pill that is prescribed to prevent pregnancy. It contains two hormones, an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel), which work together to prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus, and change the lining of the uterus, making it less likely for a fertilized egg to attach.
Levlen is available in tablet form and is taken orally once daily. It is important to take the pill at the same time every day, as directed by your healthcare provider, to ensure its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
While Levlen is generally safe and effective, there are certain circumstances where it may not be suitable for use. It is important to be aware of the following contraindications:
- Presence or history of blood clots
- History of heart attack or stroke
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- History of certain types of cancer
If you have any of these conditions, it is crucial to discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider before starting Levlen. They will be able to determine if Levlen is the right contraceptive option for you and recommend alternative methods if necessary.
Managing Side Effects
Like any medication, Levlen may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular bleeding or spotting
- Mood changes
These side effects are usually mild and tend to improve over time. If you experience persistent or severe side effects, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance.
To ensure the effectiveness of Levlen in preventing pregnancy, it is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Typically, Levlen tablets are taken once daily, at the same time each day, for a period of 21 days, followed by a 7-day break where no pills are taken. This cycle is then repeated for subsequent packs.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills in one day. Use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, until you have taken the pill correctly for seven consecutive days. If you miss two or more pills, consult the prescribing information or contact your healthcare provider for specific instructions on what to do.
In the event of an overdose, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, vaginal bleeding, or unusual tiredness.
How Other Drugs Affect Levlen
Some medications and substances may interfere with the effectiveness of Levlen or increase the risk of side effects. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, herbal supplements, and recreational drugs you are taking prior to starting Levlen.
Some drugs that may interact with Levlen include:
|Rifampin||Antibiotic||Reduces contraceptive effectiveness|
|Antiseizure medications (e.g., phenytoin, carbamazepine)||Anticonvulsants||Decreases contraceptive effectiveness|
|St. John’s Wort||Herbal supplement||Reduces contraceptive effectiveness|
|Ampicillin||Antibiotic||May alter hormonal contraceptive effectiveness|
Your healthcare provider will be able to provide personalized advice on potential drug interactions and may suggest alternative contraceptive methods if necessary.
The Answers You Need
1. Can I use Levlen if I am breastfeeding?
Levlen is not recommended for use while breastfeeding. It is important to discuss alternative contraceptive options with your healthcare provider.
2. Will Levlen protect me against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
No, Levlen does not provide protection against STIs. It is important to use barrier methods, such as condoms, in addition to Levlen to reduce the risk of STIs.
3. Can I use Levlen to skip my periods?
Some women may use Levlen to skip their periods by continuously taking active pills without the usual 7-day break. However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before attempting this method.
4. Can Levlen be used to treat acne or other skin conditions?
While Levlen may have some benefit for managing acne, it is not primarily prescribed for this purpose. There are other medications specifically indicated for treating acne that your healthcare provider may recommend.
5. What should I do if I experience persistent headaches while taking Levlen?
If you experience persistent or severe headaches while taking Levlen, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider. They can evaluate the possible cause of your headaches and recommend appropriate management strategies.