Junel FE is a combined oral contraceptive that contains both progestogen and estrogen. It is primarily used to protect against pregnancy, but is also prescribed to treat acne and painful, heavy or irregular periods.
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Junel FE is a type of combined oral contraceptive containing both a progestogen and an estrogen hormone. It is a non-continuous form of oral contraceptive, meaning it allows for a withdrawal bleed in each 28 day cycle, and, when taken correctly, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Junel FE is also prescribed to treat acne and irregular or painful periods, and decreases the risk of developing ovarian cysts.
Junel FE contains Norethindrone, a type of progestin, and Ethinyl Estradiol, a type of estrogen, which regulate the body’s natural hormone cycle. Norethindrone acts as a progestogen supplement and provides a threefold barrier to fertilisation. Primarily, it prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries) during the menstrual cycle, but also has a thickening effect on the mucus of the cervix, which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus in the event that an egg is released. Finally, Norethindrone alters the uterus lining to prevent implantation of a fertilised egg. Junel FE also contains an iron supplement to prevent women’s iron levels dropping during their monthly bleed.
When taken correctly, Junel FE is 99% effective against pregnancy, about the same success rate as condoms. It is estimated that Junel FE remains more than 97% effective in the event that women forget to take a pill.
Remember that hormonal contraceptives such as Junel FE do NOT protect against STIs. Condoms are the only form of protection against STIs.
The active ingredients in Junel FE are Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol, at a dose of 1 mg / 20 mcg, or 1.5 mg / 30 mcg.
The inactive ingredients in Junel FE are acacia, compressible sugar, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, pregelatinized corn starch, crospovidone, ferrous fumarate, hydrogenated vegetable oil, NF type I, and microcrystalline cellulose.
Junel FE 1/20 also includes D&C yellow no. 10 aluminium lake.
Junel FE 1.5/30 also includes FD&C no. 40 aluminium lake HT.
Junel FE is available at a dosage of 1 mg Norethindrone to 20 mcg Ethinyl Estradiol, or 1.5 mg Norethindrone to 30 mcg Ethinyl Estradiol. Your doctor will decide which dose is best for you, depending on your personal requirements.
Make sure you read the package instructions carefully and never start taking Junel FE without first consulting a doctor. Junel FE comes in the form of 28-day blister packs, containing 21 active tablets (containing the active hormones) and 7 inert tablets. The packs are marked with the days of the week, and when you start taking Junel FE, you have 2 options:
Day 1 Start: Start with the first active tablet labeled with the day of the week on which your period starts (day 1 of your menstrual cycle).
Sunday Start: Take the first tablet in the pack, an active tablet marked as ‘Sunday’, on the first Sunday after the start of your period. If you chose this method, make sure you use an alternative form of contraception, such as condoms, while you wait to begin Junel FE.
Take 1 pill each day, at the same time each day, following the days of the week marked on the pack. To help you remember, try and make this a part of your daily routine: for example, take your pill each morning when you brush your teeth. When you reach the end of the 21 active pills, continue with the inactive pills the next day. During the 7 days when you are taking the inactive pills, you will experience a withdrawal bleed, which simulates a natural period. This does not necessarily mean that your period will last for 7 days. When you reach the end of the calendar pack, start the next one on the next day.
If you forget to take your pill, you should take it as soon as you remember and then continue with your next dose at the usual time. If you miss 2 pills in a row, take both at the same time, as soon as you remember, and another 2 the following day. In this case, you will need to use an additional means of birth control, such as condoms, to ensure that you are fully protected from pregnancy. Missed pills may result in spotting or breakthrough bleeding, but this is normal and nothing to worry about.
Like all medications, Junel FE can cause side effects in some patients. If you notice any of the following symptoms, stop taking Junel FE and seek immediate medical help. These symptoms are rare, but could be indicative of severe health problems to which oral contraceptives may contribute:
Sharp chest pain, coughing up blood, or sudden shortness of breath. This may indicate a blood clot in the lung.
Pain in the calf, purplish or red discolouration and warmth on the skin of the calf, which may indicate a blood clot in the leg.
Crushing chest pain or heaviness, which may indicate a heart attack.
Sudden, severe headache, vomiting, dizziness or fainting, disturbances of vision or speech, weakness or numbness in an arm or a leg. This may be indicative of a stroke.
Sudden partial or complete loss of vision, which may indicate a blood clot in the eye.
Lump or lumps in the breast, which could indicate possible breast cancer or fibrocystic disease in the breast. Ask your doctor for advice on how to examine your breasts for lumps.
Sever pain or tenderness in the stomach area, which may be indicative of a ruptured liver tumor.
Weakness, lack of energy, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or a change in mood, which could indicate depression.
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) accompanied by fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark coloured urine, or light coloured bowel movements. This could indicate liver problems.
The following side effects of Junel FE are more common and usually mild. If they are troubling you, you can speak to your doctor for advice:
Vaginal bleeding. Irregular bleeding or spotting is a common side effect of contraceptive pills and may vary between slight staining between periods and breakthrough bleeding resembling a period. This is more common within the first 3 months of starting the pill and often stops with time.
Change in visibility or comfort while wearing contact lenses. If this is interrupting your daily life, contact your doctor for advice.
Fluid retention. This may include swelling of the fingers or ankles, and could cause a rise in blood pressure. If you notice these signs, contact your doctor.
Melasma, characterised by a spotted darkening of the skin, usually on the face.
Changes in appetite
Hair loss on the scalp
Do NOT take Junel FE if:
Before taking Junel FE, tell your doctor and take particular care if:
Before you start taking Junel FE, let your doctor know about any other medications you are taking (prescription and non-prescription). Among the medications that are known to interfere with Junel FE are:
Due to the wide variety of birth control pills on the market, it’s not uncommon for patients to try different ones before they find their perfect match. Different pills may contain different forms of progestogen and/or estrogen, and you may find that you are more sensitive to certain types than others. If you happen to be sensitive to estrogen, you could try the progesterone-only pill, also called the ‘mini pill’. This pill is continuous, meaning it does not allow a break for a monthly bleed, and can also be used by women who are breastfeeding.
Alternatively, you could opt for hormonal contraception that doesn’t require you to take a pill every day. These include hormonal implants (Nexplanon, Implanon) and the hormonal shot (Depo-Provera). If you’ve got a health condition such as diabetes or hypertension, an intrauterine device may be a better choice (IUD, Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, ParaGard and Skyla). The IUD acts locally, which may lower the risk of side effects. For more information and to help you make the best choice, speak to your doctor or health care provider.
If you cannot use hormonal contraceptives, you could choose one of the barrier contraceptive methods. They include condoms (male and female) and the cervical cap (FemCap). But remember that male condoms are the only contraceptive method that protects against STIs.
Junel FE is generally a safe method to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives only carry a small risk of developing more serious health issues such as heart and gallbladder disease, blood clots, tumors or estrogen-dependent cancers. It is generally accepted that the benefits of birth control pills outweigh their risks. However, if you have a history of the above-mentioned conditions (see also Contraindications) make sure you consult your doctor.
Junel FE is a form of combined contraceptive that is not continuous. During the seven days when you are not taking active pills, you will still get your period. It’s actually a simulated natural bleed.
No, Junel FE does not protect against STIs. None of the hormonal contraceptives available protect against STIs. The male condom is the only form of contraception that can protect from STIs.
In addition to preventing pregnancy, the birth control pill has other health benefits. The pill can be prescribed to treat acne or regulate painful periods or heavy menstrual bleeding. They are also used to minimize the occurrence of ovarian cysts. Some women take the pill to decrease the risk of an ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg attaches to the outside of the uterus. Some evidence suggests that hormonal contraceptives can be protective against ovarian or uterine cancer.
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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