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Lo Loestrin FE

Generic name: ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate
Dosage form: oral tablet
Drug classes: Contraceptives, Sex hormone combinations

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Apr 4, 2023.

What is Lo Loestrin FE?

Lo Loestrin Fe is a low-dose combination birth control pill (oral contraceptive) containing two different female hormones. It helps to prevent pregnancy.

Lo Loestrin Fe contains an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol and a progestin called norethindrone acetate. Lo Loestrin Fe works primarily by suppressing ovulation, which is when an egg is release from one of your ovaries each month. Combined birth control pills, such as this one, also work by thickening the mucus at the neck of the uterus (womb). This makes it harder for sperm to get through and reach an egg. They also thin the lining of the uterus, which reduces the chances of a fertilized egg implanting and growing.

Lo Loestrin Fe was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010. A generic version of Lo Loestrin Fe has not been approved.

What is Lo Loestrin FE used for?

Lo Loestrin Fe is a prescription medication used by women who want to prevent pregnancy.

Important information

Warning To Women Who Smoke

Do not use Lo Loestrin Fe if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (heart and blood vessel problems) from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Birth control pills help to lower the chances of becoming pregnant when taken as directed. They do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Do not skip any pills, even if you do not have sex often.

If you miss a period, you could be pregnant. However, some women miss periods or have light periods on birth control pills, even when they are not pregnant. Contact your healthcare provider for advice if you:

You should stop Lo Loestrin Fe at least four weeks before you have surgery and not restart it until at least two weeks after the surgery, due to an increased risk of blood clots.

If you have vomiting or diarrhea, your birth control pills may not work as well. Use another birth control method, like a condom and spermicide, until you check with your healthcare provider.

If you are scheduled for any laboratory tests, tell your healthcare provider that you are taking birth control pills. Certain blood tests may be affected by birth control pills.

How well does Lo Loestrin Fe work?

Your chance of getting pregnant depends on how well you follow the directions for taking your birth control pills. The better you follow the directions, the less chance you have of getting pregnant.

Based on the results of one clinical study, about 2 to 4 out of 100 women may get pregnant during the first year they use Lo Loestrin Fe.

Women with a BMI above 35 kg/m2 were not studied in the clinical trial, so it is not known how well this medication protects against pregnancy in such women. If you are overweight, discuss with your healthcare provider whether Lo Loestrin Fe is the best choice for you.

Birth control pills are:

Who should not take Lo Loestrin FE?

Your healthcare provider will not give you Lo Loestrin Fe if you have:

Also, do not take birth control pills if you:

Birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) caused by pregnancy, also called cholestasis of pregnancy.

What should I tell my doctor before taking Lo Loestrin FE?

Before you take Lo Loestrin Fe, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have ever had any of the conditions listed above in 'Who should not take Lo Loestrin Fe?".

How should I take Lo Loestrin FE?

Before you start taking

1. Decide what time of day you want to take your pill. It is important to take it at the same time every day.

2. Look at your pill pack: The pill pack has 24 "active" blue pills (with hormones) and 2 “active” white pills (with hormones) for Weeks 1, 2, 3 and part of Week 4. The pill pack also has 2 "reminder" brown pills (without hormones) for the last part of Week 4.

3. Find:

4. Have ready at all times:

When to start the first pack

1. Take the day label strip that starts with the first day of your period. (This is the day you start bleeding or spotting, even if it is almost midnight when the bleeding begins.)

2. Place the day label strip on the tablet dispenser over the area that has the days of the week (starting with Sunday) printed on the plastic.

3. Take the first blue pill of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.

4. You will not need to use a back-up method of birth control, because you are starting the pill at the beginning of your period. However, if you start this medication later than the first day of your period, or if you start after having a baby and you have not yet resumed your periods, you should use another method of birth control (such as a condom and spermicide) as a back-up method until you have taken 7 blue pills.

When you switch from a different method of hormonal contraception

What to do during the month

What should I know about my period when taking?

When you take Lo Loestrin Fe you may have bleeding and spotting between periods, called unscheduled bleeding. Approximately half of the women who use this medication have unscheduled bleeding or spotting in the first months of use, and about one-third of users continue to have unscheduled bleeding or spotting after one year of use. If the unscheduled bleeding or spotting is heavy or lasts for more than a few days, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider.

What if I miss my scheduled period when taking?

It is not uncommon to miss your period. However, if you go two or more months in a row without a period, or you miss your period after a month where you did not take all your pills correctly, call your healthcare provider because you may be pregnant. Also notify your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness or unusual breast tenderness. Stop taking Lo Loestrin Fe if you are pregnant.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Lo Loestrin Fe may not be as effective if you miss any blue or white pills, especially if you miss the first few or the last few blue pills in a pack.

If you miss ONE blue pill, follow these steps:

If you miss TWO blue pills in a row in Week 1 or Week 2 of your pack, follow these steps:

If you miss TWO pills (blue or white) in a row in Week 3 or Week 4 of your pack, follow these steps:

If you miss THREE OR MORE pills (blue or white) in a row at any time, follow these steps:

If you forget either of the 2 brown "reminder" pills in Week 4, follow these steps:

If you are still not sure what to do about the pills you have missed:

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose may cause nausea or vaginal bleeding in females.

No serious problems have been reported from a birth control pill overdose, even when accidentally taken by children.

Dosing information

What are the side effects of Lo Loestrin FE?

Serious side effects of Lo Loestrin Fe and other birth control pills include:

All of these events are uncommon in healthy women.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

Common side effects of Lo Loestrin Fe and other birth control pills include:

These side effects are usually mild and usually disappear with time.

Less common side effects of Lo Loestrin Fe are:

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Do birth control pills cause cancer?

It is not known if hormonal birth control pills cause breast cancer. Some studies, but not all, suggest that there could be a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer among current users with longer duration of use.

If you have breast cancer now, or have had it in the past, do not use hormonal birth control because some breast cancers are sensitive to hormones.

Women who use birth control pills may have a slightly higher chance of getting cervical cancer. However, this may be due to other reasons such as having more sexual partners.


Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and herbal products that you take. Some medicines and herbal products may make birth control pills such as Lo Loestrin Fe less effective, including:

Consider using another birth control method when you take medicines that may make birth control pills less effective.

Birth control pills may interact with lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant used for epilepsy. This may increase the risk of seizures, so your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dose of lamotrigine.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Birth control pills should not be taken during pregnancy. However, birth control pills taken by accident during pregnancy are not known to cause birth defects.

If you are breastfeeding, consider another birth control method until you are ready to stop breastfeeding. Birth control pills that contain estrogen, like Lo Loestrin Fe, may decrease the amount of milk you make. A small amount of the pill's hormones pass into breast milk.

What if I want to become pregnant?

You may stop taking Lo Loestrin Fe whenever you wish. Consider a visit with your healthcare provider for a pre-pregnancy checkup before you stop taking the pill.


What are the ingredients in Lo Loestrin FE?

Active ingredients: ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate

Blue tablets: 1 mg norethindrone acetate and 10 mcg ethinyl estradiol

White tablets: 10 mcg ethinyl estradiol

Inactive ingredients

Blue tablets: mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, povidone, vitamin E and lactose monohydrate.

White tablets: mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, povidone, vitamin E and lactose monohydrate.

Brown tablets: ferrous fumarate, mannitol, povidone, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, sucralose and spearmint flavor. The ferrous fumarate tablets do not serve any therapeutic purpose. They do not contain enough iron to treat iron deficiency and are used as a reminder to take a tablet everyday.

Lo Loestrin Fe is distributed by Allergan USA, Inc. Madison, NJ 07940

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.