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Reviewed by Dr Rohanti Ravikulan, MD
Information last reviewed 10/26/19
Junel FE is a type of combined oral contraceptive containing both progesterone (a female sex hormone) and estrogen (another female sex hormone). It is a non-continuous form of oral contraceptive, meaning it allows for a bleed (known as a withdrawal bleed) every 28 days, and when taken correctly, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Junel FE is also prescribed to treat acne and irregular or painful periods and it decreases the risk of ovarian cysts.
Junel FE contains norethindrone acetate, a type of progestin (a synthetic form of the progesterone hormone), and ethinyl estradiol, a type of estrogen, which regulates the body’s natural hormone cycle. Norethindrone prevents pregnancy by blocking fertilization in three ways. Primarily, it prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) during the menstrual cycle, but it also has a thickening effect on the mucus of the cervix, making 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 fertilized egg (adhesion of the egg to the uterine wall). Junel FE also contains an iron supplement to prevent your iron levels from dropping as a result of the monthly bleeds.
When taken correctly, Junel FE is 99% effective against pregnancy, about the same success rate as condoms used correctly (98%). It is estimated that Junel FE remains more than 97% effective even in the event that the woman forgets to take a pill. However, you should always try to take every pill around the same time each day to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Remember that hormonal contraceptives such as Junel FE do NOT protect against sexually transmitted infections (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 (norethindrone acetate/ ethinyl estradiol).
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 mg/ 20 mcg includes D&C yellow no. 10 aluminium lake. Junel Fe 1.5 mg / 30 mcg contains FD&C no. 40 aluminium lake HT.
Taking this birth control is very rarely going to cause a severe allergic reaction causing difficulty breathing, hives, or a rash that needs immediate medical attention. Junel FE does contain lactose monohydrate in its inactive ingredients which might cause some unwelcome side effects.
Junel FE is available at doses of 1 mg norethindrone to 20 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 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 instructions on the package carefully and never start taking Junel FE without consulting a doctor first. Junel FE comes in a 28-day blister pack 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 on the first day of your menstrual cycle and work your way through the pack.
Any day start: Take the first tablet in the pack on any day of your menstrual cycle and work your way through the pack. If you choose this method, make sure you use an alternative form of contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of using Junel FE, which is how long it takes for the contraceptive effect of the pill to kick in.
Take 1 pill each day, at the same time each day, according to the days of the week marked on the pack. To help you remember each day, try to make taking the medication 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 is similar to a natural menstrual 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 very next day.
If you forget to take 1 pill, you should take the missed pill as soon as you remember followed by your next pill at the usual time, even if this means taking two pills at a time. You can then continue the rest of the pack as usual and you are still protected against pregnancy.
If you miss 2 or more pills in a row, you should take the last missed pill as soon as you remember, followed by the next dose at the usual time, leaving any earlier missed pills. After this, you can continue the rest of the pack as per normal. In this case, your protection against pregnancy may be affected and you should use an alternative form of contraception (such as condoms) for 7 days after resuming the pills.
If you have missed 2 or more pills in the first week of any pack and have had unprotected sex in the last 7 days, you may need emergency contraception to ensure prevention of pregnancy. Consult your doctor immediately if this occurs.
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 a result of serious side effects caused by Junel FE:
The following side effects of Junel FE are more common and are usually mild in nature. If these symptoms do not go away or are troubling you, speak to your doctor for advice:
Do NOT take Junel FE if:
Before taking Junel FE, tell your doctor if any of the following applies to you:
Before you start taking Junel FE, let your doctor know about any other medications (prescription and non-prescription), vitamin/ mineral supplements, or herbal medications you may be taking. Some of 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 progesterone 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 injections (Depo-Provera). If you have any health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, an intrauterine device (IUD) may be a better choice for you (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 healthcare 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 condoms are the only contraceptive method that protects against STIs.
Junel FE is generally a safe method to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives carry a small risk of causing serious health issues such as heart and gallbladder disease, blood clots, tumors or estrogen-dependent cancers in some women. 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 (also see Contraindications) make sure to consult your doctor before you start taking Junel FE.
Junel FE is a form of combined contraceptive that is not continuous. During the seven days that you are not taking the active pills, you will experience bleeding. This bleeding is similar to your normal period, except that it occurs due to the withdrawal of the hormones in the pill.
No, Junel FE does not protect against STIs. None of the hormonal contraceptives available protect against STIs. Condoms are the only form of contraception that can protect from STIs when used correctly.
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 are prescribed the pill to decrease the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus. There is some evidence that hormonal contraceptives may 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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