Generic name: Ethinyl Estradiol and Norgestimate [ ETH-in-il-es-tra-DYE-ole-& nor-JES-ti-mate ]
Brand names: Estarylla, Femynor, Mili, Mono-Linyah, MonoNessa, ... show all 25 brands Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28), Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Ortho-Cyclen (28), Previfem, Sprintec 28, Tri Femynor, Tri-Estarylla, Tri-Linyah, Tri-Lo-Estarylla, Tri-Lo-Marzia, Tri-Lo-Mili, Tri-Lo-Sprintec, Tri-Mili, Tri-Previfem, Tri-Sprintec, Tri-VyLibra, Tri-VyLibra Lo, TriNessa (28), TriNessa Lo, VyLibra
Drug class: Contraceptives
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 25, 2023.
The Ortho Tri-Cyclen brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.
- Smoking cigarettes while using Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) raises the chance of very bad heart and blood-related side effects. This chance is raised with age (mainly in women older than 35 years of age). It is also raised with the number of cigarettes smoked. It is strongly advised not to smoke. Do not use Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) if you smoke and are older than 35 years of age.
Uses of Ortho Tri-Cyclen:
- It is used to prevent pregnancy.
- It is used to treat pimples (acne).
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ortho Tri-Cyclen?
- If you have an allergy to ethinyl estradiol, norgestimate, or any other part of Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate).
- If you are allergic to Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate); any part of Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have had any of these health problems: Blood clots, blood clotting problem, breast cancer or other cancer where hormones make it grow, diseased blood vessels in the brain or heart, disease of a heart valve with problems, heart disease, chest pain caused by angina, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, liver disease, liver tumor, very bad headache or migraine, or diabetes that affects blood flow.
- 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 turned yellow during pregnancy or with estrogen-based or hormone contraceptive use.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) if you are pregnant.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
- If you are taking ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir (with or without dasabuvir).
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate).
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 Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) 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 Ortho Tri-Cyclen?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate). 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 Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) is stopped, your doctor will tell you when to start taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) 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.
- 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.
- This medicine may cause high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Talk with the doctor.
- Be sure to have regular breast exams and gynecology check-ups. You will also need to do breast self-exams as you have been told.
- 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 Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate).
- Certain drugs, herbal products, or health problems could cause Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) 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 having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- Do not use in children who have not had their first menstrual period.
- If you have any signs of pregnancy or if you have a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) best taken?
Use Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) at the same time of day.
- Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
- After starting Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate), you may need to use a non-hormone type of birth control like condoms to prevent pregnancy for some time. Follow what your doctor has told you to do about using a non-hormone type of birth control.
- If you also take colesevelam, take it at least 4 hours after you take Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate).
- Do not skip doses, even if you do not have sex very often.
- If you throw up or have diarrhea, Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use an extra form of birth control, like condoms, until you check with your doctor.
- If you miss 2 periods in a row, take a pregnancy test before starting a new cycle.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If a dose is missed, check the package insert or call the doctor to find out what to do. If using Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate) to prevent pregnancy, another form of birth control may need to be used for some time to prevent pregnancy.
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, swallowing, 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.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Signs of gallbladder problems like pain in the upper right belly area, right shoulder area, or between the shoulder blades; yellow skin or eyes; fever with chills; bloating; or 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.
- Depression or other mood changes.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
- A lump in the breast, breast pain or soreness, or nipple discharge.
- Vaginal itching or discharge.
- Eyesight changes or loss, bulging eyes, or change in how contact lenses feel.
- Call your doctor right away if you have signs of a blood clot like chest pain or pressure; coughing up blood; shortness of breath; swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm; or trouble speaking or swallowing.
What are some other side effects of Ortho Tri-Cyclen?
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:
- Weight gain.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling nervous and excitable.
- Stomach pain.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Enlarged breasts.
- Tender breasts.
- Period (menstrual) changes. These include spotting or bleeding between cycles.
- 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.
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 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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 Ortho Tri-Cyclen?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
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.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28) (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate), 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.
More about Ortho Tri-Cyclen (ethinyl estradiol / norgestimate)
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