Lo Loestrin Fe

1 What is Lo Loestrin Fe?

Brand: Lo Loestrin Fe and Lo Minastrin Fe

Generic: Norethindrone, Ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate

Lo Loestrin Fe is a birth control pill. If used properly, it will prevent pregnancy. It contains two hormones which are Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone and an iron supplement which is ferrous fumarate. It prevents full development of the female egg and so now egg is not able to accept sperm to cause fertilization. It will not be beneficial after unprotected sexual contact. Do not take it as an emergency contraceptive pill.

It is available in the form of chewable tablets or tablets only with your doctor’s prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Lo Loestrin Fe, speak with your doctor about what you need to know.

Before starting the treatment your doctor should be informed about conditions such as:

Allergy: Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any food, preservatives, dyes, or had an allergic reaction when you used this drug before.

Children: There are no adequate studies done which prove its harmful effects in children. Teenage girls can use it but it is better to consult a doctor first.

Elderly: There are no adequate studies done on elderly women. It should not be used by postmenopausal women.

Pregnancy: It is a category X drug. Do not use it in pregnancy as it can cause abnormalities in an unborn baby. If you suspect that you are pregnant while using it, inform your doctor right away.

Breast Feeding: It may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. It also decreases milk production. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby.

Drug Interactions: Norethindrone, Ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate may interact with other drugs. Your doctor should be informed of any other medicines which you are taking. He may want to change the dosage or drug.

Some of the drugs which should not be taken with this contraceptive are:

  • Dasabuvir
  • Ombitasvir
  • Paritaprevir
  • Ritonavir
  • Tranexamic Acid

Some of the drug which decreases its effectiveness are:

  • Barbiturates, bosentan, carbamazepine, felbamate, griseofulvin, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, rifampicin, St. John's wort, topiramate
  • HIV protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
  • Antibiotics

Side effects of norethindrone, ethynyl estradiol may increase if used with:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy Food
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Phytic Acid Containing Food

Several other conditions may reduce its effectiveness.

Make sure you inform your doctor of conditions such as:

  • High risk of venous and arterial thrombotic diseases (deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism).
  • Breast cancer, active or history of it.
  • Heart problems (heart attack, heart valve problems, irregular rhythm of the heart, coronary artery diseases).
  • Diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve or blood vessel damage.
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure.
  • Liver diseases or tumors
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Depression
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Angioedema
  • Cervical cancer

3 Proper Usage

To use Lo Loestrin Fe properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

Use it exactly as directed by your doctor. It comes with an instruction. Read and understand it carefully.

It is available in a blister pack which contains 28 tablets. It has to be taken as directed on the blister pack.

The tablet should be chewed and swallowed without water at the same time of day. You can drink a glass of water after swallowing it. The gap between 2 tablets should not be more than 24 hours.

It is effective after 7 days of its use. During theses 7 days you must use another form of contraceptives.

Initially, when you start taking it you may have light bleeding, spotting or you may feel nauseous during first few months. Follow the instructions on a leaflet if you have vomiting or diarrhea after 3 to 4 hours of taking this pill.

If you were using vaginal ring or patch before, finish the 21 days of its use, now remove ring or patch and take a gap of 7 days and then start using norethindrone, Ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate.

If you were using a combination hormonal method (another pill, patch, vaginal ring, progestin-only pill, implant, injection,), start taking the Lo Loestrin Fe or Minastrin 24 Fe on the day you would have taken your next pill or injection, do not take any gaps.

If you switch from an IUD, talk to your doctor when to start taking this medicine.

Dosage: It is different for different patients. Dosage mentioned below is an average dose. You must follow your doctor’s command.

Your doctor may advise you to start the drug on the first day of your menstrual period (called Day 1 Start) or on the first Sunday after your menstrual period starts (called Sunday Start).

You should follow the schedule even if you miss a dose. For a Sunday start, you need to use another form of birth control (condom, diaphragm or spermicide) for the first 7 days.

For oral dosage forms (chewable tablets or tablets): Adults and teenagers: One tablet is taken at the same time each day for 28 days.

Missed dose: If you miss a dose, call your doctor for instructions.

Storage: Store it at room temperature. Keep it away from children.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Lo Loestrin Fe, there are some precautions you must take.

Your doctor should check your daily progress at regular visits. These visits are usually every 6 to 12 months.

During initial 3 months of its use, you may have vaginal bleeding between regular menstrual period. If bleeding is light, it is called spotting, if heavy it is called breakthrough bleeding.

It usually stops within 1 week. Take your drugs as per schedule, do not stop it. If bleeding continues after 1 week, inform your doctor.

If you are not taking pills as directed or if you have skipped a blue tablet, you may not have a menstrual period. If you miss 2 menstrual periods in a row, you may be pregnant.

Inform your doctor right away and stop using this drug. It should not be used by women who are above 35 years of age or who smokes cigarettes.

Smoking with birth control pill increase risks of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.

It can cause damage to the liver. Go to your doctor if you experience a headache, stomach pain, vomiting, dark-colored urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools, upper right stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin.

Inform your doctor immediately if you experience pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves, difficulty with breathing, a sudden, severe headache, slurred speech, a sudden, unexplained shortness of breath, a sudden loss of coordination, or vision changes while using this medicine.

Before starting it after delivery, your doctor may do a thorough physical examination and he may change your prescription. Inform your doctor before refilling it.

Use a sunscreen when you go out, as it is known to cause skin discoloration.

Tell your doctor or dentist that you take norethindrone, Ethinyl estradiol before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Lo Loestrin Fe to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

All medicines have some side effects. Some people may experience none or minor side effects.

Consult with your doctor if they become problematic or frequent:

More common are:

  • Irregular uterine bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache

Less common are:

  • Heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • Longer or heavier menstrual periods
  • Normal menstrual bleeding occurring earlier, possibly lasting longer than expected
  • Blemishes on the skin
  • Cramps
  • Depression

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

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