Oral contraceptives have been around since the early 1960’s. A unique combination of female hormones alters the female reproductive system to make it harder to conceive babies. Simple, effective, and discreet, oral contraceptives are the most relied on birth control due to its convenience and comfort.
Women who are pregnant, nursing, or are likely to become pregnant should not take an oral contraceptive as they are likely to cause birth defects. The drugs are passed through the breast milk and can cause harm to a nursing infant.
Seasonale, also known as Seasonique, is a three fold security against unwanted pregnancy, making it nearly 100% effective. The hormone combination prevents ovulation. The lining of the uterine wall and the cervical mucous are altered. The altered cervical mucous makes it difficult for the sperm to reach the egg to fertilize it while the alterations in the uterine wall make it difficult for a fertilized egg to attach and grow. This triple protection approach is becoming the only form of prescribed oral birth control as a very rapid rate due to its effectiveness.
Oral contraceptives carry a risk of stroke or heart attack. The risk of these side effects increases with age and with cigarette smoking. Regardless of age or health habits an individual should seek medical attention immediately if the experience symptoms of either a stroke or heart attack.
A stroke would feel like sudden onset dizziness, eye pain, sudden confusion, numbness or weakness centrally located on one side of the body, and presenting as intoxicated. Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or heaviness, difficulty breathing, or pain that extends down the left arm.
Other serious side effects include nausea and stomach pain, a low fever with jaundice, dark urine, loss of appetite, and depression. A patient experiencing these side effects needs to seek out immediate medical intervention.
It is normal to experience varying side effects when starting oral contraceptives. Seasonale has a host of moderate and mild side effects that most people are able to adapt to, including fatigue, loss of sexual interest, changes in menstruation, increased facial hair growth or darkening of the facial skin or freckling, loss of hair on the head, vaginal itching or discharges, contact lens issues, changes in weight and appetite, breast pain, and mild nausea, vomiting, cramps, and bloating.
Any form of accidental or intentional overdose on oral contraceptives are likely to cause vaginal bleeding, sometimes severe, and nausea with vomiting. Emergency room treatment is vital to treat overdosing.
Patients on oral contraceptives need to be aware of the long list of interactive medications, both over the counter and prescription, and should consult their physician before beginning any additional medication. Even Tylenol and vitamin C are likely to have effects. Steroids, St. John’s wort, phenylbutazone, and barbiturates can cause reactions so severe they can lead to death or coma. HIV medications, seizure medications, and antibiotics can cause interactions as well, including rendering oral contraceptives useless.
Oral contraceptives have become so commonplace that many people take for granted that they are safe and effective. Not only do oral contraceptives fail to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, but there are various risks to the popular medication that patients need to be made aware of in order to maximize the drug’s benefit and the patient’s health.
Seasonale (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets) is an extended-cycle oral contraceptive consisting of 84 pink active tablets each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen and 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol, and 7 white inert tablets (without hormones). The chemical formula of levonorgestrel USP is 18,19-Dinorpregn-4- en-20-yn-3-one, 13-ethyl-17-hydroxy-, (17α)-, (-)-, and the chemical formula of ethinyl estradiol USP is 19-Norpregna-1, 3,5(10)-trien-20-yne-3, 17-diol, (17α)-.
Seasonale has the following structural formula: