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Camrese (extended-cycle)

Generic Name: ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (extended-cycle) (ETH in ill ess tra DYE ol and lee voe nor JESS trel)
Brand Name: Amethia, Amethia Lo, Camrese, Camrese Lo, Daysee, Introvale, Jolessa, LoSeasonique, Quartette, Quasense, Seasonale, Seasonique

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jul 18, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Camrese extended-cycle?

Camrese is a combination drug that contains female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Camrese also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Camrese is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy.

Camrese may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not use birth control pills if you are pregnant or if you have recently had a baby.

You should not use birth control pills if you have: uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery disease, circulation problems (especially with diabetes), undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, severe migraine headaches, if you also take certain hepatitis C medication, if you will have major surgery, if you smoke and are over 35, or if you have ever had a heart attack, a stroke, a blood clot, jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills, or cancer of the breast, uterus/cervix, or vagina.

Taking birth control pills can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack.

Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You should not take this medicine if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

Before taking this medicine

Taking Camrese can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of taking birth control pills. Your risk is also high when you restart this medicine after not taking it for 4 weeks or longer.

Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Your risk increases the older you are and the more you smoke. You should not take birth control pills if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, or if you miss two menstrual periods in a row. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least 4 weeks before taking birth control pills.

You should not take birth control pills if you have:

  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • heart disease (chest pain, coronary artery disease, history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot);

  • an increased risk of having blood clots due to a heart problem or a hereditary blood disorder;

  • circulation problems (especially if caused by diabetes);

  • a history of hormone-related cancer, or cancer of the breast, uterus/cervix, or vagina;

  • unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor;

  • liver disease or liver cancer;

  • severe migraine headaches (with aura, numbness, weakness, or vision changes), especially if you are older than 35;

  • a history of jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills; or

  • if you take any hepatitis C medication containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (Technivie).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or if you are prone to having blood clots;

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides, or if you are overweight;

  • depression;

  • diabetes, underactive thyroid, gallbladder disease;

  • a seizure or migraine headache;

  • irregular menstrual cycles; or

  • fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, nodules, or an abnormal mammogram.

Camrese can slow breast milk production. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel extended-cycle?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take your first pill on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period begins. You may need to use back-up birth control, such as condoms or a spermicide, when you first start using this medicine. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Take one pill every day, no more than 24 hours apart. When the pills run out, start a new pack the following day. You may get pregnant if you do not take one pill daily. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of pills completely.

You will not have a menstrual period every month while you are taking an extended-cycle birth control pill. Instead, your period should occur every 12 weeks.

The 91-day birth control pack contains three trays with cards that hold 84 "active" pills and seven "reminder" pills. You must use the pills in a certain order to keep you on a regular cycle. Trays 1 and 2 each hold 28 pills. Tray 3 holds 35 pills, including the 7 reminder pills. Your period should begin while you are using these reminder pills.

You may have breakthrough bleeding, especially during the first 3 months. Tell your doctor if this bleeding continues or is very heavy.

Use a back-up birth control if you are sick with severe vomiting or diarrhea.

If you need major surgery or will be on long-term bed rest, you may need to stop using this medicine for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using birth control pills.

While taking birth control pills, you will need to visit your doctor regularly.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Follow the patient instructions provided with your medicine. Missing a pill increases your risk of becoming pregnant.

If you miss one active pill, take two pills on the day that you remember. Then take one pill per day for the rest of the pack.

If you miss two active pills in a row, take two pills per day for two days in a row. Then take one pill per day for the rest of the pack. Use back-up birth control for at least 7 days following the missed pills.

If you miss three active pills in a row, do not take the missed pills. Continue taking 1 pill per day on schedule according to the pill package and leave the missed pills in the package. You may have some bleeding or spotting if you miss three pills in a row. Use back-up birth control for at least the next 7 days.

If you miss a reminder pill, throw it away and keep taking one reminder pill per day until the pack is empty. You do not need back-up birth control if you miss a reminder pill. If your period does not start while you are taking the reminder pills, call your doctor because you might be pregnant.

What happens if I overdose?

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

What should I avoid while taking birth control pills?

Do not smoke while taking birth control pills, especially if you are older than 35 years of age.

Birth control pills will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.

Birth control pills side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using birth control pills and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), severe headache, slurred speech, balance problems;

  • signs of a blood clot--sudden vision loss, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, coughing up blood, swelling or redness in an arm or leg;

  • heart attack symptoms--chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;

  • liver problems--loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • increased blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;

  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet;

  • changes in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches;

  • a breast lump; or

  • symptoms of depression--sleep problems, weakness, tired feeling, mood changes.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild nausea (especially when you first start taking Camrese), vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps;

  • breast tenderness or swelling, nipple discharge;

  • freckles or darkening of facial skin, increased hair growth, loss of scalp hair;

  • changes in weight or appetite;

  • problems with contact lenses;

  • vaginal itching or discharge; or

  • changes in your menstrual periods, decreased sex drive.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect birth control pills?

Other drugs may interact with birth control pills, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Some drugs can make birth control pills less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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

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