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Triphasil

Generic Name: ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (ETH in ill ess tra DYE ol and LEE vo nor JESS trel)
Brand Names: Triphasil

What is Triphasil?

Triphasil (ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel) is a combination birth control pill containing female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary).

Triphasil 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.

Triphasil is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. There are many available brands of ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel.

Important information

Do not use Triphasil if you are pregnant or if you have recently had a baby.

You should not use Triphasil 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 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 Triphasil 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 Triphasil if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

Some drugs can make Triphasil less effective in preventing pregnancy, including antibiotics, hepatitis C medications, HIV/AIDS medications, seizure medications, or barbiturate sedatives. Tell your doctor about all other medications you use.

Before taking this medicine

Taking Triphasil 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 Triphasil. 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 Triphasil 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 Triphasil.

You should not take Triphasil 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 smoke and are over 35 years old; or

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

To make sure Triphasil is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

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

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

  • depression;

  • a seizure or migraine headache;

  • diabetes, gallbladder disease;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • irregular menstrual cycles; or

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

The hormones in Triphasil can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. This medicine may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast feeding a baby.

How should I take Triphasil?

Take Triphasil exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

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 Triphasil. 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.

Some birth control packs contain seven "reminder" pills to keep you on your regular cycle. Your period will usually begin while you are using these reminder pills.

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

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

If you need major surgery with 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 Triphasil.

While taking Triphasil, you will need to visit your doctor regularly.

Store Triphasil at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Follow the patient instructions provided in your Triphasil packet. 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 in Week 1 or 2, 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 two active pills in a row in Week 3, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack the same day if you are a Day 1 starter. If you are a Sunday starter, keep taking a pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that day.

If you miss three active pills in a row in Week 1, 2, or 3, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack on the same day if you are a Day 1 starter. If you are a Sunday starter, keep taking a pill every day until Sunday. On Sunday, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that day.

If you miss two or more active pills, you may not have a period during the month. If you miss a period for two months in a row, call your doctor because you might be pregnant.

If you miss a reminder pill, throw it away and keep taking one reminder pill per day until the pack is empty.

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, vomiting, and drowsiness.

What should I avoid while taking Triphasil?

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

Triphasil 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.

Triphasil side effects

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

Stop using Triphasil and call your doctor at once if you have:

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

  • signs of a blood clot - sudden vision loss, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath, coughing up blood, pain or warmth in one or both legs;

  • 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 Triphasil side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting (especially when you first start taking this medicine);

  • breast tenderness;

  • breakthrough bleeding;

  • acne, darkening of facial skin;

  • weight gain; or

  • problems with contact lenses.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Triphasil?

Other drugs may interact with Triphasil, 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.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Triphasil.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Triphasil only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 11.01.

Last reviewed: September 14, 2017
Date modified: October 13, 2017

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