Oral Contraceptives

Generic name: Progestin estrogen.

Other brand names: Brevicon, Demulen, Desogen, Genora 1/35-28, Levlen, Levonorgestrel Implant, Loestrin, Lo/Ovral, Modicon, Micronor, NEE, Nelova, Nordette, Norethin, Norinyl, Norlestrin, Norplant, Nor-Q.D., Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortno-Novum, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Ovcon, Ovral, Ovrette, Progestasert, Progesterone Intrauterine Insert, Tri-Levlen, Tri-Norinyl, Triphasil.

Oral contraceptives prevent egg production and ovulation, alter the uterine lining, and thicken cervical mucus — to prevent conception and egg implantation. 

Quick Facts About Oral Contraceptives


It Used to prevent pregnancy.

Oral Contraceptives Dosage

Take every day, ideally at the same time. Pills should be taken no more than 24 hours apart.

  • Usual adult dose: take on 21-day or 28-day schedule. Follow doctor’s instructions carefully before taking medication.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible if you miss 1 pill; return to regular schedule. If you miss more than 1 tablet do not take missed tablet; return to regular schedule, but use another form of birth control during this medication cycle.

Oral Contraceptives Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

nausea, withdrawal bleeding in women. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: abdominal cramps; acne; appetite changes; bladder infection; bleeding in spots during menstrual period; bloating; blood clots; breast tenderness or enlargement; cataracts; chest pain; contact lens discomfort decreased flow of milk when given immediately after birth; depression; difficulty breathing; dizziness; fluid retention; gallbladder disease; growth of face, back, chest, or stomach hair; hair loss; headache; heart attack; high blood pressure; inflammation of large intestine; kidney trouble; lack of menstrual periods; liver tumors; lumps in breast; menstrual pattern changes; migraine; muscle, joint or leg pain; nausea; nervousness; premenstrual syndrome (PMS); secretion of milk; sex drive changes; skin infection; skin rash or discoloration; stomach cramps; stroke; swelling; temporary infertility, unexplained bleeding in the vagina; vaginal discharge; vaginal infections (and/or burning and itching); visual disturbances; vomiting; weight gain or loss; yellow skin or eyes.

No known less common or rare Oral contraceptives side effects.


Inform your doctor before combining Oral contraceptives with:

amitriptyline (Elavil or Endep), ampicillin (Polycillin or Principen), barbiturates (phenobarbital), carbamazepine (Tegretol), chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin), clomipramine (Anafranil), diazepam (Valium), doxepin (Sinequan), glipzide (Glucotrol), griseofulvin (Fulvicin or Grisactin), imipramine (Tofranil or Janimine), lorazepam (Ativan), metoprolol (Lopressor), oxazepam (Serax), penicillin (Veetids or Pen*Vee K), phenylbutazone (Butazolidin), phenytoin (Dilantin), prednisolone (Delta-Cortef or Prelone), prednisone (Deltasone), primidone (Mysoline), propranolol (Inderal), rifampin (Rifadin or Rimactane), sulfonamides (Bactrim or Septra), tetracycline (Achromycin V), theophylline (Theo-Dur), warfarin (Coumadin).

No known food/other substance interactions. 

Special Cautions

Should not use oral contraceptives during pregnancy. If you become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Appears in breast milk; may cause jaundice and enlarged breasts in nursing infants.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • At risk for stroke, heart attack, and blood clots if you smoke and use oral contraceptives.
  • Should not take if sensitive to or allergic to this medication, or if you have ever had breast cancer, cancer of the reproductive organs, liver tumors, pregnancy-related jaundice or jaundice stemming from previous use of oral contraceptives.
  • Use cautiously if: you are over 40 years; smoke tobacco; have liver, gallbladder, kidney, or thyroid disease; have high blood pressure or cholesterol; diabetes; epilepsy; asthma; porphyria (blood disorder); are obese; have a family history of breast or other cancers. Also use cautiously if you have a personal history of depression, migraine, other headaches, irregular menstrual periods, or visual disturbances.
  • Doctor may discontinue use of oral contraceptives prior to surgery, to avoid affecting the body’s blood-clotting mechanism.


HealthSurvey.org provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Oral contraceptives side effects, please contact your healthcare provider