Lessina

Protect yourself with Lessina birth control pills on prescription

Lessina is a birth-control pill containing progesterone and a low-dose of estrogen. It is useful if you experience side effects from estrogen (i.e. nausea, breast tenderness, headaches), or if you find it difficult to keep track of when to start your pills again after your period. Lessina is primarily used as a contraceptive, but can also be used to alleviate period pain and acne.

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84 tablets20mcg/0.1mg$57.00
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Information

Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD

Information last reviewed 07/12/19

About

What is Lessina?

Lessina is a birth control pill that can also be used to help reduce period pains and acne. Lessina is a combined oral contraceptive (COC), meaning that it contains both progesterone and estrogen, but unlike standard COCs, Lessina contains a lower-dose of estrogen, to help reduce estrogen-related side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, headaches etc. 

It is also worth knowing that a pack of Lessina contains the active pills, which are pink in colour and some white placebo pills to help you keep track of when to take your pills again after your period.   

How does Lessina work?

Lessina works in the following ways:

  • The progesterone prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation) meaning that there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize.
  • The mucus around the cervix and vagina becomes thicker, making it harder for sperm to pass through it and reducing the chances of sperm being able to fertilize an egg if one were to be released.
  • The estrogen alters the lining of the womb/uterus (the endometrium) so that even if an egg were to be fertilized it would not be able to implant itself in the endometrium, so it would just pass out of the body naturally. 
  • How effective is Lessina?

    Lessina is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The actual success rate of Lessina in preventing pregnancy, which taken into account women who occasionally forget to take a pill, is about 97%. 

    Lessina will NOT protect you from contracting STIs, nor will any other hormonal contraceptive. The only form of contraception to offer partial protection from STIs is condoms.  

    Ingredients

    Active ingredients

    Each pack of Lessina contains active tablets, which are coloured pink and inactive white tablets which are placebos used to help you keep track of when to restart the active pills. 

    The active ingredients in the pink pills in Lessina are: 20mcg ethinyl estradiol (EE) and 0.1mg levonorgestrel.

    The white placebo pills do not contain any active ingredients.   

    Inactive ingredients

    The inactive ingredients in both pink and white Lessina pills are: anhydrous lactose, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, and magnesium stearate.

    The pink pills also contain: FD&C red no. 40 aluminum lake, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, corn starch, and titanium dioxide.  

    Dosage

    Lessina dosage

    The usual dosage of Lessina is 1 x active tablets (containing 20 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 0.1 mg levonorgestrel) per day for the first 21 days, and 1 x inactive tablets per day for the following 7 days.

    How to start taking Lessina

    Never start taking Lessina without a prescription from a doctor, and make sure to read the package instructions carefully before use. Lessina tablets come in a blister pack, marked with the days of the week and containing 28 pink, active tablets and 7 white inert tablets. When starting Lessina, you have 2 options:

    • Day 1 start: Take the first active tablet (pink) on the first day of your period (day 1 of your menstrual cycle). Take the first pill in the pack that is marked with the day of the week on which your period starts.
    • Sunday start: Take the first active tablet in the pack, which begins with Sunday, on the first Sunday after you start your period. It does not matter if you are still bleeding or stopped bleeding a few days prior. If you chose this starting method, you will need to use additional, non-hormonal contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days after starting Lessina.

    How to take Lessina

    Take your tablet at the same time each day. Try and make this a part of your daily routine to help you remember: for example, take your pill each morning when you brush your teeth. When you come to the end of the 21 active pills in the pack, move onto the inert pills the next day without taking a break. During this time, you will experience a withdrawal bleed, which simulates a natural period. This will not necessarily last for 7 days, but you should continue taking the 7 pills on consecutive days regardless of when you stop bleeding. When you reach the end of the pack you will need to start a new on the next day, so make sure you always have the next pack ready.

    What to do if you miss a pill

    If you forget to take one of your active pills, take it as soon as you remember and continue with the next one at the normal time, even if this means taking 2 pills in 1 day. If you miss 2 pills in a row, take 2 as soon as you remember and 2 the following day, and then carry on as normal. In this case, you should use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, for the following 7 days, as missing 2 pills in a row can weaken the effectiveness of Lessina. You may also experience some breakthrough bleeding or spotting during this time, but this is normal and nothing to worry about. If you miss one of the inert pills, just dispose of the missed dose and carry on as normal.

    Side Effects

    Lessina side effects

    Common side effects of Lessina are:

    • Breast tenderness

    • Acne

    • Dizziness

    • Nausea

    • Swelling of the abdomen, ankles or feet

     

    Uncommon side effects of Lessina are:

    • Migraine

    • Sensitivity to sunlight - increased risk of sunburn

    • Changes in blood sugar

    • Periods that are longer or heavier than usual

    • Changes in libido (sex drive)

    • Stomach cramps and abdominal pain

    • Weight changes

    • Darkening of skin colour

    • Increased likelihood of yeast infections

     

    Some uncommon side effects are more severe and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following severe side effects of Lessina:

    • Allergic reaction to Lessina - breathing difficulties, hives, swelling of mouth, lips, tongue or throat

    • Symptoms indicating a blood clot - chest pain, breathing difficulties, light-headedness, severe headache, migraine, confusion, slurring of speech, lack of coordination, sweating, fainting, visual disturbances i.e. double vision.

    Contraindications

    Do NOT take Lessina if:

    • There is a chance you might be pregnant or if you are planning on becoming pregnant
    • You have ever had a heart attack or stroke
    • You have ever had blood clots in your legs (thrombophlebitis), brain (stroke), lungs (pulmonary embolism), eyes or the deep veins of your legs (DVT).
    • You have chest pain (angina pectoris)
    • You have known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the uterus lining, cervix or vagina
    • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
    • You have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) during pregnancy or during previous use of a contraceptive medication
    • You have a liver tumour (benign or cancerous)

    In addition, you should let the prescribing doctor know if any of the following conditions apply to you:

    • Breast nodules, fibrocystic disease of the breast, an abnormal breast x-ray or mammogram
    • Diabetes
    • Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides
    • High blood pressure
    • Migraines or other headaches
    • Epilepsy
    • Depression
    • Gallbladder, heart or kidney disease
    • Irregular menstrual periods
    • You're a smoker. Smoking can dramatically increase your risk of blood clots and other side effects when taking hormonal contraceptives. 

    Drug interactions

    It is possible for other medications and supplements to interfere with the action and effectiveness of other drugs. Therefore it is important that you let the prescribing docotr know of any other drugs you are taking, this includes over the counter medications, supplements, alternative medicines and recreational drugs. The following medicications may interfere with the effectiveness of Lessina, so should be avoided where possible:

    • Rifampin
    • Barbiturates, phenylbutazone, phenytoin sodium
    • Griseofulvin, ampicillin and tetracyclines
    • HCV combination therapy
    • Medicines used to treat HIV and Hepatitis C infection, including drug combinations containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir. Lessina may cause adverse effects if taken in combination with these medications.  

    Treatment Options

    Alternatives to Lessina

    Low-estrogen contraceptives such as Lessina are a good option for women who are particularly sensitive to estrogen and prone to estrogen-related side effects. However, there are many different types of oral contraceptives and it is not uncommon to try a few before fining one that works for you. Another option is the progesterone-only pill, also known as the mini pill, which contains no estrogen and is taken continuously without a break for a monthly bleed. 

    If you struggle to remember to take your pills each day, you can try a non-oral form of hormonal contraception. These include the implant (Implanon, Nexplanon), the shot (Depo-Provera), and the intrauterine device (IUD, Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena). The IUD in particular is suited to women with certain contradictory health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, as it works locally to the reproductive system. You can find additional advice on which type of contraceptive might be best for you from your doctor or health worker.

    Some women choose not to use hormonal contraceptives at all, and rely instead on barrier methods. These include the cervical cap (FemCap) and male and female condoms. The male condom is the only contraceptive that offers partial protection from STIs.  

    Lessina vs Sronyx

    Lessina and Sronxy are different brands of the same medication. They both contain the same active ingredients (20 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 0.1 mg Levonorgestrel) and work in the same way.

    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.

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