Alesse-21 Side Effects
Generic Name: ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel
Note: This document contains side effect information about ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Alesse-21.
For the Consumer
Applies to ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel: oral tablet
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.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Coughing up blood.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- 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.
- Mood changes.
- Low mood (depression).
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Very bad belly pain.
- 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.
- Loss of eyesight.
- Change in how contact lenses feel in the eyes.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
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.
- Weight gain.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Enlarged breasts.
- Breast soreness.
- Hair loss.
- Pimples (acne).
- Period (menstrual) changes. These include spotting or bleeding between cycles.
- Lowered interest in sex.
- This drug 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-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel: oral tablet
The most frequently reported side effects were headache, heavy/irregular vaginal bleeding, nausea/vomiting, acne, dysmenorrhea, weight increased, mood changed, anxiety/panic attack, breast pain, and migraines.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Irregular/heavy uterine bleeding (up to 17%), menorrhagia (up to 11.6%), breast pain (up to 11.2%), dysmenorrhea (up to 11%), breakthrough bleeding/spotting
Common (1% to 10%): Breast tenderness/discomfort, vaginitis, candidiasis, breast enlargement, breast secretion, breast tension, intermenstrual bleeding/metrorrhagia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast enlargement, breast hypertrophy, menstrual flow changed
Rare (less than 0.1%): Breast discharge, vaginal discharge, amenorrhea
Frequency not reported: Uterine myoma, temporary infertility, cervical erosion changed, cervical secretion changed, diminution in lactation
Postmarketing reports: Menstrual flow reduced, withdrawal bleeding missed, post pill amenorrhea[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Blood pressure increased
Rare (less than 0.1%): Venous thromboembolism, arterial thromboembolism
Frequency not reported: Deep vein thrombosis, hypertension, myocardial infarction, varicose veins exacerbated, thrombophlebitis, cerebral vascular disease, mitral valve prolapse
Postmarketing reports: Thrombosis[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 33%)
Common (1% to 10%): Migraine, dizziness
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Chorea exacerbated
Frequency not reported: Loss of consciousness, epilepsy, Sydenham's chorea, transient ischemic attack, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral thrombosis[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Nausea/vomiting (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhea
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Pancreatitis
Frequency not reported: Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, bloating, mesenteric thrombosis
Postmarketing reports: Abdominal distention[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Benign liver tumor, malignant liver tumor, breast cancer[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Cholestatic jaundice
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Gallbladder disease, gallbladder disease exacerbated
Frequency not reported: Cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, Budd-Chiari syndrome
Postmarketing reports: Liver function disturbance[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Hemolytic uremic syndrome[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Mood changed, mood swings/alteration/affect lability, depression, anxiety/panic attack, nervousness, libido decreased, libido increased, depression
Frequency not reported: Major depressive disorder, suicide attempt, depressed mood, crying, major depression, affective disorder, depression suicidal, dysthymic disorder
Postmarketing reports: Insomnia[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Hypersensitivity reaction, anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reaction
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Systemic lupus erythematosus exacerbated[Ref]
Rare (less than 0.1%): Contact lens intolerance
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Retinal vein thrombosis
Frequency not reported: Cataract, corneal curvature changed/steepening
Postmarketing reports: Optic neuritis[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Appetite increased, fluid retention/edema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Appetite decreased, serum lipid levels changed, hypertriglyceridemia
Rare (less than 0.1%): Glucose tolerance changed
Frequency not reported: Tolerance to carbohydrates reduced[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Acne
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria, rash, chloasma
Rare (less than 0.1%): Erythema nodosum, erythema multiforme, hereditary angioedema exacerbated
Frequency not reported: Herpes gestationis, hirsutism, alopecia, melasma
Postmarketing reports: Alopecia, itching, angioedema[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Weight gain, weight changed, flu syndrome
Rare (less than 0.1%): Weight decreased
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Porphyria exacerbated
Frequency not reported: Ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, porphyria, congenital anomaly, cystitis-like syndrome
Postmarketing reports: Chest pain, fatigue, malaise, edema peripheral, pain, serum folate decreased[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Back pain
Frequency not reported: Systemic lupus erythematosus
Postmarketing reports: Muscle spasm, pain in extremity[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Pulmonary embolism
Postmarketing reports: Pulmonary thrombosis[Ref]
1. "Product Information. LoSeasonique (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, North Wales, PA.
2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
3. "Product Information. Alesse-28 (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Wyeth-Ayerst Canada Inc, St. Laurent, QC.
4. "Product Information. Seasonale (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc, Pomona, NY.
5. "Product Information. Triphasil (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.
6. "Product Information. Seasonique (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, North Wales, PA.
7. "Product Information. Quartette (ethinyl estradiol-levonorgestrel)." Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, North Wales, PA.
8. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
Some side effects of Alesse-21 may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
More about Alesse-21 (ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- 1 Review – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: contraceptives
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