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Alesse is a combination birth control pill containing 2 female hormones. The drug is used to prevent pregnancy and also helps regulate your periods.
What is Alesse?
Alesse is a monophasic oral combination low-dose contraceptive. The drug contains 2 hormones – levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol. Each pack contains 21 active tablets each containing 0.10 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol; and 7 inert tablets.
Mechanism of action
The drug has a three-level action: suppression of hormones involved in ovulation, changes in the properties of the endometrium in order to prevent embryo implantation and thickening of mucus in the cervical canal in order to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Due to these features, the medication provides a reliable contraceptive effect, preventing a woman of fertile age from unwanted pregnancy. In addition, the pills can make menstruation less abundant and reduce pain during your period.
How to use Alesse?
- If a pack contains 28 pills: Take one pill every day for 28 days at about the same time. Do not take breaks. Your period should start when you are using placebo pills. It usually ends by the time the placebo pills are done and you begin the next pack.
- If a pack contains 21 pills: The pack contains no placebo pills. Take one pill every day for 21 days at about the same time. Then take a break for 7 days, and then begin your next pack. Your period should start during no-medication days. It usually ends when it’s time to start a new pack.
Alesse can cause the following side effects: breast engorgement, decreased libido, intermenstrual bleeding, increased vaginal discharge, vaginal candidiasis, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, hepatitis, liver adenoma, gallbladder disease (for example, cholelithiasis, cholecystitis), diarrhea, headache, depressed mood, an increase in the frequency of epileptic seizures, eyelid edema, conjunctivitis, blurred vision, discomfort when wearing contact lenses (these phenomena are temporary in nature and disappear after drug withdrawal.
Prolonged use of the contraceptive can cause hearing loss, weight gain, an increase in the concentration of triglycerides, glucose in the blood, a decrease in glucose tolerance, chloasma, skin rash, hair loss, generalized itching, increased fatigue, increased blood pressure, thrombosis and venous thromboembolism.
Do not use Alesse if you have any of the following conditions:
- severe dysfunction of the liver, liver tumors and thromboembolic processes (including in the history);
- severe diabetes with vascular complications;
- breast or uterine cancer;
- violation of fat metabolism;
- jaundice or itching during a former pregnancy;
- otosclerosis that worsened during the past pregnancy.
It’s not recommended to combine Alesse with any of the following drugs:
- barbiturates, some antiepileptic drugs (carbamazepine, phenytoin), sulfonamides, pyrazolone derivatives;
- some antimicrobial agents (including ampicillin, rifampicin, chloramphenicol, neomycin, polymyxin B, sulfonamides, tetracyclines);
- anticoagulants derived from coumarin or indandione;
- tricyclic antidepressants, maprotiline, beta-blockers;
- oral hypoglycemic drugs and insulin;
- drugs with a potential hepatotoxic effect (for example, dantrolene).
What if I miss a dose?
If you forgot to take another pill and the delay is less than 12 hours, take it as soon as you remember. The next pill is taken at your usual time. If you forgot to take another pill and the delay is more than 12 hours, take it as soon as you remember and do not forget to use other contraceptives until you have your next period. Follow the same scheme if you have vomiting or diarrhea – these conditions can reduce the contraceptive effect of the drug.
Use during pregnancy and lactation is contraindicated. Before using Alesse, a woman is recommended to undergo a thorough general medical and gynecological examination and to exclude pregnancy. In addition, violations of the blood coagulation system should be excluded. The contraceptive does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases. Impact on the ability to drive a car and work with complex equipment is not revealed. An overdose of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol can cause nausea, vomiting, spotting or metrorrhagia. If you are planning to undergo surgery, stop taking the pills at least 4 weeks before it and not to resume taking them within 2 weeks after the end of immobilization. Irregular bleeding is the norm when taking oral contraceptives in the first three months. Keep the drug at room temperature away from heat and moisture.