Generic name: Levonorgestrel, Ethinyl estradiolBrand names: Seasonique
Why is Seasonique prescribed?
Seasonique is used to prevent pregnancy. It is an extended-regimen birth control pill that is designed to lengthen the time between your periods. Seasonique allows you to get your period every 3 months (four times a year), instead of once a month as with typical birth control pills.
Most important fact about Seasonique
Like other birth control pills, Seasonique has serious risks, which can be life threatening. They include blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Smoking increases these risks, especially if you are more than 35 years old; therefore, women using birth control pills should not smoke. Some women should not take birth control pills, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers (especially estrogen-dependent cancers of the breast or sex organs), a history of heart attack or stroke, angina (chest pain), liver problems, or women who could be pregnant.
Birth control pills do not protect against HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, or syphilis. If there is a danger of infection, use a latex condom and spermicide in addition to birth control pills.
How should you take Seasonique?
Each Seasonique pack contains a 3-month supply. You should take 1 pill at the same time every day for 3 months. Because all the pills in the Seasonique pack contain hormones, you should not skip any pills during the 3 months. If you miss pills you could get pregnant. This includes starting the pack late. The more pills you miss, the more likely you are to get pregnant. Do not skip pills even if you are spotting or have irregular bleeding.
You should get your period during the last week of the Seasonique pack, once every 3 months. Your period will probably last about 3 days.
- If you miss 1 dose of Seasonique (light blue-green tablet):Take the pill as soon as you remember, and continue your normal schedule.
- If you miss 2 doses of Seasonique (light blue-green tablet):Take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the day after. Continue taking 1 pill a day after that, until you finish the pack.
- If you miss 3 or more doses of Seasonique (light blue-green tablet):Do not remove the missed pills from the pack; you will not take them. Continue with your regular schedule, taking 1 pill per day until the pack is finished. You may experience bleeding the week after you missed your pills. You may also become pregnant within the first 7 days of restarting your pills; use alternate forms of contraception (such as condoms) during this time.
- Storage instructions...Store at room temperature.
What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Seasonique.
- Common side effects may include:Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, breast tenderness, difficulty wearing contact lenses, nausea, vomiting, weight gain
Serious, and possibly life-threatening, side effects are also possible, especially for women who smoke. Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the following:
- Chest pain, coughing up blood, or shortness of breath (indicating a possible blood clot in the lung)
- Pain in the calf (indicating a possible blood clot in the leg)
- Crushing chest pain or heaviness (indicating a possible heart attack)
- Sudden, severe headache or vomiting, dizziness, fainting, vision or speech problems, weakness, or numbness in an arm or leg (indicating a possible stroke)
- Sudden partial or complete loss of vision (indicating a possible blood clot in the eye)
- Breast lumps (indicating possible breast cancer or fibrocystic breast disease)
- Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach (indicating a possible liver tumor)
- Difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, fatigue, change in mood (possibly indicating depression)
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), sometimes accompanied by fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, or light-colored bowel movements (indicating possible liver problems)
Why should Seasonique not be prescribed?
You should not take Seasonique if you are pregnant, or if you develop an allergic reaction to the drug. In addition, you should not use birth control pills such as Seasonique if you have any of the following:
- A history of blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), or eyes
- A history of blood clots in the deep veins of your legs
- A history of heart attack or stroke
- Chest pain (angina)
- Heart valve or heart rhythm disorders that may be associated with the formation of blood clots
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Diabetes that affects your circulation
- A need for surgery with prolonged bed rest
- Known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the lining of the uterus, cervix, vagina, or certain hormonally-sensitive cancers
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice) during pregnancy or during previous use of the pill
- Active liver disease with abnormal liver function tests
- Liver tumor (benign or cancerous)
Special warnings about Seasonique
Avoid smoking while taking Seasonique. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious heart problems while on Seasonique. This risk increases with age and with the amount of smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day). Also, avoid using Seasonique before or during early pregnancy.
Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Seasonique. Also, inform the doctor about your entire medical history, especially if you or a family member has ever had any of the following:
- Breast nodules, fibrocystic disease of the breast, or an abnormal breast x-ray or mammogram
- Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Migraine or other headaches
- Epilepsy (seizures)
- Gallbladder, liver, heart, or kidney disease
- A history of scanty or irregular menstrual periods
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Seasonique
If Seasonique is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Seasonique with the following:
AntibioticsAnticonvulsantsBarbituratesCarbamazepineFelbamateGriseofulvinOxcarbazepinePhenylbutazonePhenytoinRifampinSt. John's wortTopiramate
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
You should not take Seasonique if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Recommended dosage for Seasonique
The dosage of Seasonique is 1 light blue-green tablet for 84 consecutive days, followed by 7 days of yellow tablets. Your period will start when you are taking the yellow tablets.
While any medication taken in excess can cause overdose, the risk associated with birth control pills is minimal. Even young children who have taken large amounts of birth control pills have not experienced serious side effects. However, if you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include nausea and withdrawal bleeding in women.
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