Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 5, 2022.
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases with age, particularly in women over 35 years of age, and with the number of cigarettes smoked. Women who are over 35 years of age and smoke should not use oral contraceptives .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Yaz 28
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Monophasic Contraceptive Combination
Pharmacologic Class: Progestin
Uses for Zarah
Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol combination is used to prevent pregnancy. It is a birth control pill that contains two types of hormones, ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone, and when taken properly, prevents pregnancy. It works by stopping a woman's egg from fully developing each month. The egg can no longer accept a sperm and fertilization (pregnancy) is prevented.
This medicine is also used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and acne in women at least 14 years of age. PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Patients with PMDD may have severe emotional and physical symptoms 10 to 14 days before their menstrual flow starts.
No contraceptive method is 100 percent effective. Birth control methods such as having surgery to become sterile or not having sex are more effective than birth control pills. Discuss your options for birth control with your doctor.
This medicine does not prevent AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. It will not help as emergency contraception, such as after unprotected sexual contact.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using Zarah
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol combination have not been performed in the pediatric population. However, pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of this medication in teenagers are not expected. This medicine may be used for birth control in teenage females but should not be used before the start of menstruation.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol combination have not been performed in the geriatric population. This medicine is not indicated for use in elderly women.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.Ethinyl Estradiol
Studies suggest that this medication may alter milk production or composition. If an alternative to this medication is not prescribed, you should monitor the infant for side effects and adequate milk intake.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Tranexamic Acid
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Clavulanic Acid
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Guar Gum
- Mycophenolate Mofetil
- Mycophenolic Acid
- Paclitaxel Protein-Bound
- Penicillin G
- Penicillin G Procaine
- Penicillin V
- Red Clover
- St John's Wort
- Valproic Acid
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Abnormal or unusual vaginal bleeding or
- Adrenal disease or
- Blood disorders (eg, hypercoagulopathy) or
- Breast cancer, active or history of or
- Diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage or
- Heart attack, history of or
- Heart or blood vessel disease (eg, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems), or history of or
- Heart rhythm problems or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure), uncontrolled or
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease, including tumors or cancer or
- Migraine headache, new or worse or a new kind of headache or
- Problems with circulation or blood clots, now or in the past or
- Stroke, history of—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Angioedema (swelling of the face, tongue, or throat), inherited or
- Chloasma gravidarum (skin disorder during pregnancy), history of or
- Cholestasis (bile problem) during pregnancy, history of or
- Depression, history of or
- Diabetes or
- Dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or fats in the blood), uncontrolled or
- Gallbladder disease or
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure), controlled—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of Zarah
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. It may not be specific to Zarah. Please read with care.
It is very important that you use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
To make using oral contraceptives as safe and reliable as possible, you should understand how and when to take them and what effects may be expected.
This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
This medicine is available in blister packs. Each blister pack contains 28 tablets with different colors that need to be taken in the same order as directed on the blister pack.
When you begin using this medicine, your body will require at least 7 days to adjust before a pregnancy will be prevented. Use a second form of contraception (eg, condom, spermicide, or diaphragm) for the first 7 days of your first cycle of pills.
Take this medicine at the same time each day, after the evening meal or at bedtime. You may take this medicine with or without food.
Do not skip or delay taking your pill by more than 24 hours. If you miss a dose, you could get pregnant. Ask your doctor for ways to help you remember to take your pills or about using another method of birth control.
You may have light bleeding or spotting when you first take the pill.
You may feel sick or nauseous, especially during the first few months that you take this medicine. If your nausea is continuous and does not go away, call your doctor.
If you vomit or have diarrhea within 3 to 4 hours of taking this medicine, treat this as a missed dose and follow the instructions in the patient leaflet or call your doctor.
If you are switching from a combination hormonal method (eg, another pill, patch, vaginal ring) to using Yasmin® or Yaz®, take the medicine on the day you would have usually taken your next pill If you do not start your period, see your doctor for a pregnancy test. If you have used a vaginal ring or patch, take the pill on the day the ring or patch is removed. You must also use a second method of birth control (eg, condom, diaphragm, spermicide) for the first 7 days you take this medicine.
If you are switching from a progestin-only method (eg, progestin-only pill, implant, injection, intrauterine system) to using Yasmin® or Yaz®, take the medicine on the day you would have taken your next progestin-only pill, or on the day your implant or IUD is removed, or on the day you would have your next injection. You must also use a second method of birth control (eg, condom, diaphragm, spermicide) for the first 7 days you take this medicine.
If you have a miscarriage or abortion after the second trimester or if you gave birth and chose not to breastfeed, you may start using this medicine after 4 weeks to prevent the risk of having blood clots.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Your doctor may ask you to begin your dose 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). When you begin on a certain day it is important that you follow that schedule, even if you miss a dose. Do not change your schedule on your own. If the schedule that you use is not convenient, check with your doctor about changing it. For a Sunday start, you need to use another form of birth control (eg, condom, diaphragm, spermicide) for the first 7 days.
You should begin your next and all subsequent 28-day regimens of therapy on the same day of the week as the first regimen began and follow the same schedule.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For contraception (to prevent pregnancy), PMDD, or acne:
- Adults and teenagers—
- Yasmin®: One yellow tablet (active) taken at the same time each day for 21 consecutive days followed by one white (inert) tablet daily for 7 days per menstrual cycle.
- Yaz®: One pink tablet (active) taken at the same time each day for 24 consecutive days followed by one white (inert) tablet daily for 4 days per menstrual cycle.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- Adults and teenagers—
- For contraception (to prevent pregnancy), PMDD, or acne:
Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
- If you miss one yellow pill: Take the pill as soon as possible and take the next pill at your regular schedule.
- If you miss two yellow pills in week 1 or 2: Take the two pills as soon as possible and the next two pills the next day. Continue taking one pill a day until you finish the pack. Use a second form of birth control (eg, condom, spermicide) for 7 days after you miss a dose.
- If you miss two yellow pills in week 3 or 4, or if you miss three or more yellow pills in a row in any week:
- Day 1 start: Throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that same day.
- Sunday start: Continue taking one pill a day until Sunday, then throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that same day. Use a second form of birth control (eg, condom, spermicide) for 7 days after you miss a dose, to prevent pregnancy. If you miss your menstrual period 2 months in a row, check with your doctor because you might be pregnant.
- If you miss any of the seven white pills in week 4: Throw away the pills you missed. Continue taking one pill a day until you finish the pack.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using Zarah
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and does not cause unwanted effects. These visits will usually be every 6 to 12 months, but some doctors require them more often. Your doctor may also want to check your blood pressure while taking this medicine.
Although you are using this medicine to prevent pregnancy, you should know that using this medicine while you are pregnant could harm the unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had a baby within 4 weeks before you start using this medicine.
Do not use this medicine together with medicine to treat hepatitis C virus infection, including ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir (Technivie®, Viekira Pak®).
Vaginal bleeding of various amounts may occur between your regular menstrual periods during the first 3 months of use. This is sometimes called spotting when slight, or breakthrough bleeding when heavier.
- If this should occur, continue with your regular dosing schedule.
- The bleeding usually stops within 1 week. Check with your doctor if the bleeding continues for more than 1 week.
- If the bleeding continues after you have been taking hormonal contraceptives on schedule and for more than 3 months, check with your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you miss a menstrual period. Missed periods may occur if you skip one or more tablets and have not taken your pills exactly as directed. If you miss two periods in a row, talk to your doctor. You might need a pregnancy test.
If you suspect that you may be pregnant, and check with your doctor immediately.
Do not use this medicine if you smoke cigarettes or if you are over 35 years of age. If you smoke while using birth control pills containing drospirenone, you increase your risk of having a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke. Your risk is even higher if you are over age 35, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Talk with your doctor about ways to stop smoking. Keep your diabetes under control. Ask your doctor about diet and exercise to control your weight and blood cholesterol level.
Using this medicine may increase your risk of having blood clotting problems, especially in the first 6 months of use. This risk may be higher if you are using a birth control pill containing drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Check with your doctor right away if you have 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.
Check with your doctor immediately if you wear contact lenses or if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want an eye doctor to check your eyes.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, dark urine or pale stools, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Check with your doctor before refilling an old prescription, especially after a pregnancy. You will need another physical examination and your doctor may change your prescription.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. The results of some medical tests may be affected by this medicine. You may also need to stop using this medicine at least 4 weeks before and 2 weeks after having major surgery.
This medicine may cause skin discoloration. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Zarah side effects
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Breast pain or tenderness
- headache, severe and throbbing
- heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
- irregular menstrual periods
- normal menstrual bleeding occurring earlier, possibly lasting longer than expected
- Longer or heavier menstrual periods
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- difficulty with breathing
- loss of appetite
- pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
- slurred speech
- stomach pain
- sudden loss of coordination
- sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vision changes
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- delusions of persecution, mistrust, suspiciousness, or combativeness
- false or unusual sense of well-being
- inability to have or keep an erection
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- mental depression
- quick to react or overreact emotionally
- rapidly changing moods
- weight gain
More about Zarah (drospirenone / ethinyl estradiol)
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Reviews (83)
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- En español
- Drug class: contraceptives