Low-dose birth control pills such as Kelnor, reduce estrogen-related side effects, making them a great alternative to conventional contraceptive pills. Kelnor is primarily used to prevent pregnancy, but can also be used to treat painful periods and hormonal acne.
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Written by Patrick Moser, FNP-BC
Information last reviewed 07/09/19
Kelnor is a combined oral contraceptive, or birth control pill. It contains a combination of synthetic versions of the female hormones estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progesterone (ethynodiol diacetate). Each tablet dispenser contains 21 active tablets, which are light yellow in color, and 7 white inactive, or placebo, tablets.
The estrogen and progesterone in Kelnor perform three actions in order to prevent pregnancy:
Kelnor is a very effective method of birth control, preventing over 99% of unwanted pregnancies. It’s reliability depends on taking it correctly. Forgetting pills and not using extra protection after vomiting or using certain medications can make the pill less effective.
Kelnor is also indicated for the treatment of severe acne vulgaris, amenorrhea (or cessation of menstrual periods), abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and endometriosis.
A pack of Kelnor contains both active pills and placebo pills. The active pills are light yellow in color and contain the following active ingredients: 35mcg ethinyl estradiol (EE) and 1mg ethynodiol diacetate. The ethinyl estradiol is a synthetic version of the female hormone, estrogen and the ethynodiol diacetate is a synthetic progesterone. These ingredients work in combination to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation, fertilization and implantation.
The placebo pills are white in colour and do not contain any active ingredients.
The inactive ingredients in the yellow pills are: anhydrous lactose, D&C yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polacrilin potassium, and povidone.
The white placebo pills contain: anhydrous lactose, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.
Each pack of Kenor contains 21 light yellow pills which contain 1mg of ethynodiol diacetate band 35 mcg of ethinyl estradiol. One of these is taken daily. The packs also contain 7 white placebo pills which have no active ingredients.
Kelnor is packaged in blister packs containing 28 tablets each. There are 21 active tablets, which are yellow and contain the active hormones. There are 7 white inert tablets, which do not contain the active ingredients. There are two ways to start Kelnor, the Day 1 Start and the Sunday Start.
Kelnor should be taken at around the same time every day. The pills should be taken in order according to the packaging. Your menstrual period should occur during the seven days of inactive, or placebo, tablets. This does not mean that your period will last seven days, although it can. Take Kelnor at a time of day when you are most likely to remember to avoid late or missed doses.
If you miss one of the white active pills, you should take it as soon as you remember. Your next pill should be taken at the normal time, even if you take 2 pills in one day. If you forget to take 2 active pills in a row, you should take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day. Then resume taking pills as normal. You should use a backup birth control method, such as condoms, for the next 7 days if you miss 2 active pills, as there is an increased risk for pregnancy during that first week. Refer to the package insert or ask your doctor if you are not sure what you should do if you forget to take your pill(s).
It is common to experience some side effects when taking Kelnor, but these are usually mild and often resolve after you have been taking Kelnor for a few weeks. Common side effects include:
Irregular periods or spotting when you first start taking the pill
Swelling of ankles or feet
If you experience any other side effects or severe side effects, you should seek medical advice. A doctor may be able to offer you other birth-control solutions to alleviate your side effects.
In some rare cases, you may experience severe side effects. If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction or blood clot, you should seek emergency medical attention. These symptoms include:
Fainting or Dizziness
Swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips or throat
Chest pain - especially pain that spreads into your jaw or left arm
Severe headaches or migraines
Changes in vision, including double vision and partial or full blindness
Lack of coordination
You should not take Kelnor if you:
Extra care should be taken if you:
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
Some medications can decrease the effectiveness of Kelnor. These include:
If you are prescribed antibiotics while taking Kelnor, you should use a backup birth control method while taking the antibiotics.
There are several different types of birth control pills available. You may have to try a few different ones before you find the pill that works best for you. You may have heard of the mini pill, which contains progesterone only. The mini pill is a good alternative if you are sensitive to estrogen. Progesterone-only pills are also used for women who are breastfeeding. Other alternatives include the implant, IUD (intrauterine device), and injections. These options have the advantage that you do not need to remember to take a pill every day. However, there are some side effects with these methods which can make them undesirable. Make sure you talk to your doctor and get the information you need to make the best decision for you.
Kelnor should be taken at around the same time every day to ensure maximum effectiveness and to minimize the chance of missing a pill. If you experience nausea when you start Kelnor, taking your pill with or shortly after your evening meal or at bedtime can help to reduce nausea.
There are several proven benefits to taking combined oral contraceptives, such as Kelnor. Contraceptives can help to preserve bone mineral density, protect against formation of ovarian cysts, reduce risk for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and reduce risk for dysmenorrhea (prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding) and other menstrual bleeding disorders. In addition, regular use of oral contraceptives can reduce risk for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) by 50% to 60%. Contraceptive use has also been associated with reduced asthma symptoms, as well as reduced risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Women who use oral contraceptives are less likely to develop benign breast diseases such as fibrocystic breast disease.
If you are switching to Kelnor from another birth control pill, you should start taking Kelnor on the same day you would have started a new pack of your previous pill.
Kelnor and Zovia are both birth control pills which contain the same ingredients; Ethinyl estradiol and ethynodiol diacetate. This means they are essentially the same thing.
As with all birth control pills, one possible side effect of Kelnor is a depressed mood. This is often a temporary side effect but if it doesn’t get better after taking Kelnor for a few months then seek help from your doctor. They may recommend a different pill or prescribe antidepressants depending on the severity of your symptoms.
There is no gluten containing ingredients in Kelnor but there is no testing phase in the production of it to confirm whether or not the birth control pill is gluten free. If you have coeliac disease, you may want to look for a birth control pill which is established as gluten free.
Kelnor contains a standard dose of estrogen in comparison to other birth control pills. However, this is still considered a low dose in comparison to older types of birth control pills which are no longer available. The highest dose of estrogen available now is 50mg but this is rarely prescribed.
It may specify on the information leaflet that weight gain is a potential side effect of taking Kelnor. However, this is usually fluid retention and this tends to disappear after the first few months of taking the pill. This is a common concern because the older types of birth control pills contained higher levels of estrogen which did cause women to gain weight.
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