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Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone (HRT)

Generic Name: Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone (HRT) (ETH in il ess tra DYE ole/nor eth IN drone)
Brand Name: Femhrt

  • Do not use estrogens to prevent heart disease or dementia. Using estrogens may raise the chances of having a heart attack, a stroke, breast cancer, a blood clot, or dementia.
  • Use estrogens with or without progestin for the shortest time needed at the lowest useful dose.

Uses of Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone:

  • It is used to put off soft, brittle bones (osteoporosis) in women after change of life.
  • It is used to prevent or lower the signs of the change of life (menopause).
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone?

For all patients taking ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (HRT):

  • If you have an allergy to ethinyl estradiol, norethindrone, or any other part of this medicine.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have had any of these health problems: Blood clots, blood clotting problem, breast cancer, bulging blood vessel (aneurysm), chest pain caused by angina, high blood sugar (diabetes) that affects blood flow, diseased arteries in the brain, disease of a heart valve with problems, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, liver tumor, stroke, tumor where estrogen makes it grow, or very bad headache or migraine.
  • If you have had any of these health problems: Endometrial cancer, cancer of the cervix or vagina, or vaginal bleeding where the cause is not known.
  • If you have surgery and need bedrest.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone if you are pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists. This medicine may need to be stopped before certain types of surgery as your doctor has told you. If ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone is stopped, your doctor will tell you when to start taking this medicine again after your surgery or procedure.
  • This medicine may raise the chance of blood clots, a stroke, or a heart attack. Talk with the doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor if you will need to be still for long periods of time like long trips, bedrest after surgery, or illness. Not moving for long periods may raise your chance of blood clots.
  • Some studies have shown the risk of breast cancer is raised in women taking birth control pills, especially at a younger age. This includes birth control pills that have drugs like this one in them. The risk was also linked to how long the birth control pills were taken. One study showed the risk of breast cancer was also raised in women who took birth control pills within the past 10 years. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This medicine may raise blood sugar.
  • Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
  • High blood pressure has happened with drugs like this one. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Be sure to have regular breast exams and gynecology check-ups. Your doctor will tell you how often to have these. You will also need to do breast self-exams as your doctor has told you. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you are allergic to tartrazine, talk with your doctor. Some products have tartrazine.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone.
  • Certain drugs, herbal products, or health problems could cause this medicine to not work as well. Be sure your doctor knows about all of your drugs and health problems.
  • This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine works best when used with calcium/vitamin D and weight-bearing workouts like walking or PT (physical therapy).
  • Follow the diet and workout plan that your doctor told you about.
  • Do not give to a child. Talk with your doctor.

How is this medicine (Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone) best taken?

Use ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
  • Take this medicine at the same time of day.
  • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • If you miss taking ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone for a few days in a row, call your doctor before you start taking it again.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
  • Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • A lump in the breast, breast soreness, or nipple discharge.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.
  • Spotting or vaginal bleeding that is very bad or does not go away.
  • Bulging eyes.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Change in how contact lenses feel in the eyes.

What are some other side effects of Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Feeling more or less hungry.
  • Dizziness.
  • Weight gain.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Bloating.
  • Enlarged breasts.
  • Breast soreness.
  • Hair loss.
  • Lowered interest in sex.
  • This medicine may cause dark patches of skin on your face. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Protect from light.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (HRT) or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Review Date: October 4, 2017

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