Avoid pregnancy with Loryna birth control pills on prescription

Loryna is a combination of drospirenone and ethinylestradiol, which sees some 6 million prescriptions in the U.S. every year. It reliably prevents unwanted pregnancies.

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Written by Patrick Moser, FNP-BC

Information last reviewed 06/21/19


What is Loryna?

Loryna is a combined oral contraceptive that contains both estrogen (Ethinyl Estradiol) and progesterone (Drospirenone). Commonly referred to as “the pill,” it is a common and effective method of preventing pregnancy. Loryna is also prescribed for the treatment of acne and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

How does Loryna work?

The naturally occurring hormones in Loryna, estrogen and progesterone, work to prevent pregnancy through three actions. Loryna suppresses ovulation, thickens the mucus lining the cervix, or entrance to the womb, and changes the lining of the uterus, or womb. All of these actions prevent fertilization of an egg.

Loryna helps to reduce acne by interrupting the circulation of hormones called androgens. Overproduction of these hormones can lead to worsening of acne by causing changes in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Loryna is successful in balancing these hormones and reducing the severity of acne.

How effective is Loryna?

When taken correctly, Loryna is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that fewer than one woman out of 100 women who use Loryna for contraception will get pregnant in one year. Other methods of birth control, such as the IUD and implant, may be more effective than Loryna.


Active ingredients

The active ingredients in Loryna are ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in Loryna are corn starch, talc, titanium dioxide, polysorbate 80, polyethylene glycol, lactose, ferrerosoferric oxide, croscarmellose sodium, polyvinyl alcohol, povidine K30, artificial colors

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

Loryna has not been associated with causing allergic reactions in people before but things to look out for in a severe allergic reaction are facial swelling, a rash, dizziness, or trouble breathing. This medication does contain lactose so might cause some tummy troubles in those with a severe lactose intolerance. As lactose is only present in small quantities, it should not cause discomfort in most people with lactose intolerance. 


How to start Loryna

Loryna is packaged in blister packs containing 28 tablets each. There are 24 active tablets, which are peach-colored and contain active hormones. There are 4 inert tablets, which do not contain active ingredients. There are two ways to start Loryna, the Day 1 Start and the Sunday Start.

  • Day 1 start: This is the most commonly used starting method for Loryna. Start with the first active peach colored tablet on the first day of menstruation, which is known as Day 1 of the menstrual cycle.

  • Sunday start: With the Sunday start, the first tablet should be taken on the Sunday after the onset of the menstrual period. Again, start with the first active peach colored tablet and take them in order as packaged.

How to take Loryna

Loryna should be taken at roughly the same time every day and in the order according to the packaging. You should have your period during the four days of inert, or inactive, tablets. To avoid any missed or late doses, take Loryna at a time of day when you are most likely to remember.

What should I do if I forget to take a pill?

In case you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember and continue as normal. You may end up taking two pills in one day, which is not going to cause any problems. You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you only missed one pill. If you miss 2 or more pills in a row, take 2 pills as soon as you remember and 2 pills the following day. Then resume taking 1 pill daily at your regular time. Make sure to use a back-up birth control method if you are sexually active in the 7 days after you restart your pills.

Side Effects

Loryna side effects

Possible side effects of Loryna include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Swelling of the ankles or feet
  • Change in weight
  • Irregular periods, especially in the first few months of use
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Mood changes, to include depression
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver problems


Do NOT take Loryna if you:

  • Have a diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have, or have had, breast cancer or another estrogen- or progestin-sensitive cancer
  • Have had a stroke or heart attack
  • Have ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Have or have had a blood clot
  • Are over the age of 35
  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes with vascular disease
  • Have a sensitivity to ethinyl estradiol, drospirenone, or any other component of Loryna

Take extra care if you:

  • Have a family history of blood clots
  • Smoke
  • Are diabetic
  • Have a history of migraine headaches
  • Have a history of gallbladder disease
  • Have a history of hepatic adenomas
  • Have a history of liver disease, to include hepatitis
  • Have a history of hereditary angioedema
  • Have a history of depression

Find immediate medical help if you develop:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe headache, particularly if you do not have a history of a headache disorder
  • Chest pain
  • Eye pain or vision changes
  • Swelling in the leg or leg pain

Drug interactions

Certain medications can interfere with the way Loryna works and lead to reduced effectiveness of Loryna. These include:

  • HIV medications
  • Hepatitis C medications
  • Antibiotics
  • St. John’s wort
  • Seizure medications

Treatment Options

Alternatives to Loryna

If you opt for birth control pills, you have many different options. Sometimes your first choice is the right one, but if it is not, you can try different pills to find the perfect one for you. If you are breastfeeding or have known estrogen sensitivity, you may want to try the mini pill. The mini pill contains only progesterone as its active hormone. Alternatively, the intrauterine device (IUD), hormonal implant or patch are good options if you would rather not have to remember to take a pill every day. Common side effects of the IUD include irregular bleeding and PMS symptoms. It’s best to discuss these alternatives with your doctor.  

Loryna for non-contraceptive purposes

Loryna is also indicated for the treatment of acne and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The symptoms of PMDD include markedly depressed mood, increased anxiety, and anger or irritability. PMDD can also lead to difficulty concentrating, decreased interest in usual activities, and lack of energy. These symptoms occur in the seven to ten days prior to the menstrual period and last for a few days after the onset of the period. Taking Loryna as directed can help to ease these symptoms.


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. (NHS Choices) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/combined-contraceptive-pill/, accessed May 24, 2019 
  2. “DailyMed - LORYNA- Drospirenone and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets” (U.S. National Library of Medicine) https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=da872266-d5f2-35df-096e-341f58d9342, accessed May 24, 2019 
  3. “Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) <https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001216.htm> accessed May 24, 2019 
  4. Slopien R and others, “Use of Oral Contraceptives for Management of Acne Vulgaris and Hirsutism in Women of Reproductive and Late Reproductive Age” (2018) 17 Menopausal Review 1

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