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This medication is a combination oral contraceptive containing the progestational compound norgestimate and the estrogenic compound ethinyl estradiol, and are indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who elect to use oral contraceptives as a method of contraception, a highly effective one for pregnancy prevention.
This medication also provides you with a low daily dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy, while actually lowering the level of the hormone in your body that's likely to cause acne. In clinical tests, it has been clinically proven to help reduce mild to moderate acne nearly nine out of ten women saw improvements in their skin.
Take Ortho Tri-Cyclen pills by mouth. Before you start taking these pills decide what is a suitable time of day and always take them at the same time of day and in the order directed. Swallow the pills with a drink of water. Take with food to reduce stomach upset. Do not take more often than directed.
Most products contain a 21-day supply of pills containing the active ingredients. Some products contain an additional 7 pills containing iron or inactive ingredients to be taken during the week of menstruation; this reduces the chance of missing the first day of the next cycle. Most products are to be started on the first Sunday after you start your period or on the first day of your period. You may need to ask your health care provider which day you should start your packet.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Ortho Tri-Cyclen is an estrogen and progestin combination used to prevent pregnancy. It may also be used to regulate the menstrual cycle, treat symptoms of menopause, or treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
If you miss one dose, take the dose as soon as you remember or take two pills at the time of your next regularly scheduled dose. There is little likelihood that ovulation will occur. You may, however, want to use a second method of birth control such as a condom or a spermicidal cream, jelly, or foam for at least 7 consecutive days following the missed tablet to ensure protection from pregnancy. If you miss two tablets in a row, take the two missed tablets as soon as you remember or with your next regularly scheduled dose (three total). Or, you may take two tablets each for the next two regularly scheduled doses (one missed tablet plus one regularly scheduled tablet for 2 days in a row).
Chances are much greater that you may ovulate so you must use another form of birth control for at least 7 days following the missed tablets. It is even better to use a second method of birth control until your next period. If you miss three tablets in a row, throw away the package and start a new package on the 7th day after the last day you took a pill. Use another method of birth control until you have taken a pill for 7 days in a row. Your period should occur during the 7 days without pills. If it doesn't, have a pregnancy test before beginning a new package of pills.
Store Ortho Tri-Cyclen at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep Ortho Tri-Cyclen out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Possible Side Effects
Severe side effects are relatively rare in women who are healthy and do not smoke while they are taking oral contraceptives. On average, more women have problems due to complications from getting pregnant than have problems with oral contraceptives. Many of the minor side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, the potential for severe side effects does exist and you may want to discuss these with your health care provider.
The following symptoms or side effects may be related to blood clots and require immediate medical or emergency help: chest pain, coughing up blood, dizziness or fainting spells, leg, arm or groin pain, severe or sudden headaches, stomach pain (severe), sudden shortness of breath, sudden loss of coordination, especially on one side of the body, swelling of the hands, feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain, vision or speech problems, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, especially on one side of the body.
Other serious side effects are rare. Contact your health care provider as soon as you can if the following side effects occur: breast tissue changes or discharge, changes in vaginal bleeding during your period or between your periods, headaches or migraines, increases in blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes, increases in blood pressure, especially if you are known to have high blood pressure, symptoms of vaginal infection (itching, irritation or unusual discharge), tenderness in the upper abdomen, vomiting, yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your health care provider if they continue or are bothersome): breakthrough bleeding and spotting that continues beyond the 3 initial cycles of pills, breast tenderness, mild stomach upset, mood changes, anxiety, depression, frustration, anger, or emotional outbursts, increased or decreased appetite, increased sensitivity to sun or ultraviolet light, nausea, skin rash, acne, or brown spots on the skin, tiredness, weight gain.
Ortho Tri-Cyclen is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.