Kariva

Order Kariva birth control pills to avoid pregnancy

Kariva is an effective combination pill that not only prevents pregnancy but also can be used to make your period more regular and less painful.

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Information

Written by Dr Karen Paulson, MD

Information last reviewed 07/17/19

About

What is Kariva?

Kariva is an oral birth control pill used to prevent pregnancy. It contains two female hormones: a progestin and estrogen. Kariva works by blocking the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). The drug also changes the lining of the womb and prevents pregnancy. The drug is known to make the vaginal fluid thicker, as this helps serve as a prevention mechanism that makes it hard for the sperm to reach an egg. Birth control pills like this Kariva are very effective, but it should be noted that they do not prevent the spread of viruses like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Kariva can also be used to treat acne in some patients. It works by reducing the amounts of certain naturally occurring substances in the body that causes acne.

How does Kariva work?

Kariva works by releasing two types of hormones, estrogen and progestin, into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. They take action by stopping ovulation so that your ovaries don’t release an egg each month. In addition to this, the hormones thicken the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to get through and alters the uterine lining so that it is thinner, preventing an egg from implanting should fertilization occur. 

Ingredients

Active ingredients

The active ingredients in Kariva are 0.15 mg desogestrel and 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol (EE). These are synthetic forms of the female hormones, estrogen and progestogen. 

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Kariva are: colloidal silicon dioxide, Hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, polyethylene glycol, povidone, pregelatinized starch, stearic acid, and vitamin E.

Dosage

How to use Kariva safely

The patient information leaflet provided by the pharmacist should be read before the use of Kariva, and each time a refill is obtained. You can get the relevant information required to use this drug properly on the leaflet, as well as directives on what to do if any dose is missed. You should ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions that you might have.

Kariva/ oral contraceptives come in a pack of 21, 28 or 91 tablets which can be taken via the mouth. The recommended dosage is once a day every day or almost every day as long as a regular cycle is maintained. It is better to take oral contraceptives with food or milk to prevent nausea in some patients.

When should I start using Kariva?

Usually, the prescribing doctor should tell you when you should start taking Kariva. Oral contraceptives like Kariva are usually started on the first or fifth day of the menstrual period. It can also be started on the first Sunday after or on which the bleeding begins. Also, for effectiveness, the doctor should tell you if you need to use another method of contraception (Birth control method) during the first 7 to 9 days when you begin using Kariva. The doctor should also help you choose what method might be suitable for you.

How to start Karvia

There are two different options you can choose from when starting Kariva. You can either start taking it on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period starts. The Sunday option helps you to remember which day to start a new pack each month. If you start taking Kariva on the first day of your period, you’ll be protected from pregnancy right away. If you wait until the Sunday, you’ll need to use condoms or a diaphragm for the first 7 days of taking the pill. 

How regularly should Kariva be taken?

Kariva should be taken at the same time every day to ensure the proper cycle is maintained. Every direction on the prescription label should be followed carefully, and the drug should be used exactly as described. It is important not to take more or less of the drug, as well as not too often or for longer than the time prescribed by the doctor/pharmacist.

Here are some of the regular doses:

For a 21-tablet packet, a tablet should be taken daily for 21 days, and then the patient should go 7 days without the drug. After this period of 28 days, a new packet should be started.

For a 28-tablet packet, 1 tablet should be taken daily for 28 days in a row and in the order that was specified in the pack. A new pack should be started the day after the 28th tablet is taken. You should note that most 28-tablet pack may have tablets with different colors. These different colors of tablet usually indicate different amounts of estrogen and progestin. However, other colored tablets contain an inactive ingredient or a folate supplement.

For a 91-day tablet pack, a table should be taken daily for 91 days. This pack usually contains three trays of tablets which should be taken in order. The patient should start with the first tablet on the first tray and continue taking 1 tablet per day at the same time every day in the exact order specified on the pack. On the last tray, the tablets have a different color from the first two sets. These last set of tablets would usually contain an inactive ingredient, or have a very low dose of estrogen. A new pack should be started on the next day after the 91st tablet is taken.

What do I do if I forget a dose?

First, you should know that if you miss your dose, you may not be protected from getting pregnant. You may also need to use a backup contraception for 7 to 9 days or until the end of your menstrual cycle.

Depending on the brand of Kariva you use, every brand of Oral contraceptive comes with specific directives to be followed if a dose is missed or more. You should, therefore, read the manual that comes with your contraceptive.

For further questions, you should call your doctor or pharmacist. You should, however, continue to use your pills as scheduled, as well as a backup contraception until your doctor answers your questions.

Side Effects

Kariva side effects

Common side effects of Kariva include:

  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight changes
  • Swelling of the ankles/feet
  • Irregular/missed periods - this is particularly common during the first few months of using Kariva. You should take a pregnancy test if you miss two periods in a row, or if you forgot to take a pill and you miss your next period.

If any of the symptoms mentioned above persists or worsens, tell your doctor as soon as possible. 

You should seek emergency medical attention fi you experience any of the following:

  • Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to Kariva: severe dizziness, trouble breathing, rashes, and itching/swelling (areas such as the face, tongue or throat).
  • Lumps in breast
  • Severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Liver problems including signs of jaundice (yellowing eyes/skin)
  • Mental/mood changes (new/ worsening depression)
  • Changes in vaginal bleeding that are unusual (continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding, missed periods) 

Rare and serious side effects may occur due to problems caused by blood clots. You should get medical help immediately if any of the side effects listed below occur:

  • Chest/jaw/left arm pain
  • Sudden dizziness/fainting
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Sudden shortness of breath/rapid breathing
  • Unusual sweating
  • Unusual headaches (sudden/very severe headaches, vision changes/lack of coordination)

Note: This list of side effects does not represent all the side effects that can be caused by the use of Kariva. If you notice any unusual feeling not listed here during the use of this drug, consult your doctor immediately.

Contraindications

Kariva should not be taken by women who: 

  • Have a history of blood clots
  • Have a medical condition which can affect your blood clotting
  • Have a history of breast cancer 
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Have diabetes with blood vessel damage 
  • Have a history of angioedema
  • Have migraines with aura
  • Have previously experienced a heart attack, stroke or angina 
  • Have kidney or liver disease 
  • Have previously experienced jaundice 
  • Have thyroid problems 
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding 
  • Are due to have an operation or will be off their feet for a long time

Tell your doctor if any of the above apply to you. 

Drug interactions

There are some medications that interfere with the way Kariva works. These include: 

  • Aromatase inhibitors 
  • Ospemifene tamoxifen
  • Tizanidine
  • Tranexamic acid
  • Medications to treat hepatitis C
  • Griseofulvin 
  • Modafinil 
  • Rifampin 
  • Rifabutin 
  • Medications to treat seizures 
  • Medications to treat HIV 
  • St. John’s wort

Q&A

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.

  1. Estrogen and Progestin (Oral Contraceptives). (2019). Retrieved from WebMD Website: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601050.html
  2. KARIVA-desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol. Physicians Total Care, Inc. Iss. 12/2009 11001578. (2019) Retrieved from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=7b11e11f-6977-4109-b9bd-a066e5d1278a&type=display
  3. Kariva, (2019). Retrieved from MedlinePlus Website: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-32934/kariva-28-oral/details
  4. Who should not take Kariva? (2019). Retrieved from WebMD Website: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-32934/kariva-28-oral/details/list-contraindications

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