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Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD
Information last reviewed 10/22/19
Enskyce is a type of birth control pill that contains a lower-level of estrogen than most other combined oral contraceptives. Estrogen is a female sex hormone, too much of which can cause side effects such as breast tenderness, nausea, and headaches in susceptible women. If you experience these estrogen-related side effects from another pill, Enskyce may be a good option for you.
Enskyce is a combined contraceptive pill, which means that it contains synthetic versions of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, Enskyce alters the level of these hormones and helps to prevent pregnancy in three ways:
Enskyce is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. A more accurate success rate, which takes into account women who occasionally miss a pill, or are late taking their pill, is around 95%. Enskyce does not protect against STIs, nor does any other form of hormonal contraceptive. The only form of contraception to protect against STIs is condoms.
Each pack of Enskyce contains both light orange and green pills. The light orange pills are the active pills and the green pills are placebo pills. The placebo pills do not contain any active ingredients, but are designed to remind you when you need to start the next pack.
The active ingredients in the light orange Enskyce pills are 30mcg ethinyl estradiol (EE) and 0.15mg desogestrel. EE is the synthetic estrogen and desogestrel is the synthetic progesterone. Compared to standard combined contraceptive pills, Enskyce contains a lower-dose of synthetic estrogen, meaning that it should help you to avoid estrogen-related side effects such as headaches, nausea and breast tenderness.
The light orange pills contain the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, povidone, stearic acid, talc, titanium dioxide and vitamin E.
The light green placebo pills contain the following inactive ingredients: corn starch, D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 2 carmine Aluminium Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, talc and titanium dioxide.
While it is rare for oral birth control to cause a severe allergic reaction, the Yellow No. 6 dye and Carmine used in Enskyce have been suspected as cases of anaphylactic shock where other causes have not been identified. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include: dizziness, facial swelling, hives/rash, and trouble breathing. If you notice these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The usual dosage of Enskyce is 1, active (orange) pill, containing 30 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel, per day for the first 21 days of your 28-day cycle, followed by 1, inert (green) pill per day for the following 7 days.
Always read the package instructions carefully before use, and never start taking Enskyce without first consulting a doctor. Enskyce usually comes in a 28-day blister pack containing 21 active pills and 7 inert pills, each marked with the days of the week. You can start Enskyce in one of two ways:
Take 1 pill per day at the same time each day. To make sure you don’t forget, try working it into your daily routine: for example, take a pill first thing in the morning after you brush your teeth. After you have finished the 21 active pills, move onto the inert pills the very next day, without a break. During these 7 days, you will experience withdrawal bleeding, which is a simulation of a natural period caused by a drop in the body's progesterone levels. Withdrawal bleeding may not last as long as your regular menstrual period. When you reach the end of the 28-day pack, start a new pack the next day, even if you are still bleeding. Make sure you have a new pack ready to start as soon as you finish the current one.
If you miss 1 active, orange pill, take it as soon as you remember and then continue as normal, even if this means taking 2 pills in one day. If you miss 2 active pills in a row, take 2 as soon as you remember and then 2 the next day, before carrying on as normal. You should use an additional form of contraception for 7 days after missing a dose, as missing pills can reduce the effectiveness of Enskyce. You may experience some breakthrough bleeding or spotting in this event, but this is completely normal. If you miss an inert (green) pill, just dispose of the missed dose and carry on as normal the next day. If you are unsure what to do in the event of a missed pill, contact your doctor or health worker for advice.
Common side effects of Enskyce usually disappear after the first few months of use as your body gets used to the new hormone levels. Common side effects include:
Please note, that there are a number of other side effects you may experience when taking Enskyce. You should always read the patient information leaflet before taking any new medication, and you should ensure that you re-read the leaflet every time you get a new pack of pills in case the information has been updated.
Due to the active ingredients in Enskyce, it is possible to experience severe side effects, some of which may be associated with blood clots or an allergic reaction. If you experience any of these side effects you should seek emergency medical attention.
Do NOT take Enskyce if:
You should tell your doctor and take particular care with Enskyce if any of the following apply to you:
Before taking Enskyce, tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. The following medicines may interfere with the effectiveness of Enskyce, or cause breakthrough bleeding:
Low-estrogen oral contraceptives, such as Enskyce, are particularly suited to women who are sensitive to estrogens, as they help to reduce estrogen-sensitive side effects such as breast tenderness and headaches. However, there are many different types and brands of oral contraceptives containing different forms and doses of the hormones, and it is not uncommon to try a few before finding one that is right for you. Most women start off with a standard-dose combined oral contraceptive unless it is contraindicated by an existing health condition or prescription, in which case a progestogen-only pill (also known as the mini pill) may be better suited. The mini pill contains progestogen only and is taken in a continuous fashion, which means a monthly bleed does not occur.
Non-oral forms of hormonal contraceptive are also available and are useful if you struggle to remember to take your pills each day. Forms of non-oral hormonal contraceptives include implants (Implanon, Nexplanon), injections (Depo-Provera), and intrauterine devices (IUD, Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena). In particular, IUDs are suited to women with certain existing health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, as it works locally on the reproductive system. To understand which type of contraceptives would be suitable for you, speak to your doctor or health worker.
If you don’t want to use hormonal contraceptives, you can rely on barrier methods instead. These include a cervical cap (FemCap) and condoms. Barrier contraceptives, when used correctly, are the only form of contraception to offer protection from STIs.
Enskyce is generally considered to be a safe and effective form of contraception. Oral contraceptives are associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots, heart disease, gallbladder disease, liver tumors, and estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Although most women will not experience these conditions while taking oral contraceptives, if you have a personal or family history of any of the above conditions, you need to inform your doctor before starting an oral contraceptive, as it may not be suitable for you. See ‘Contraindications’ above or more information.
Enskyce will NOT protect you from contracting STIs, nor will any other form of hormonal contraceptive. Only condoms and cervical caps offer protection from STIs when used correctly.
Yes - when taking Enskyce you will experience what is known as a withdrawal bleed every month, which is triggered by the drop in progestogen that occurs when you finish the active pills in the pack. When you first start taking Enskyce, you may experience some breakthrough bleeding or spotting (bleeding between menstrual periods), but this is normal and often stops in time. However, if the bleeding is heavy or often occurs, speak to your doctor for advice.
While hormonal contraceptives are a form of birth control, they can also be prescribed to treat acne and to relieve painful, heavy or irregular periods. Additionally, they have other health benefits; women taking oral contraceptives have less chance of developing ovarian cysts, decreased risk of ovarian or uterine cancer and additional protection against ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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