Low Ogestrel

Low dose birth control to prevent pregnancy without the side effects

Low Ogestrel is a low-estrogen pill and a great option for women who experience unpleasant side effects from standard combination pills.

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Quantity Strength Price
84 tablets30mcg/0.3mg$63.00
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Information

Reviewed by Patrick Moser, FNP-BC

Information last reviewed 07/09/19

About

What is Low Ogestrel?

Low Ogestrel is a type of combined oral contraceptive containing both a progesterone and an estrogen hormone. It contains a lower-dose of estrogen compared to standard pills, which helps to reduce estrogen-related side effects such as headaches, nausea and breast tenderness. Low Ogestrel is a non-continuous contraceptive pill, which means that you will have a monthly withdrawal bleed.

How does Low Ogestrel work?

Low Ogestrel works in three ways: it prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries), preventing sperm from being able to fertilize an egg. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus in the event that an egg is released. Finally, Low Ogestrel alters the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from being able to implant. Instead, the egg will not develop, and will instead be passed out of the body.

How effective is Low Ogestrel?

When taken correctly, Low Ogestrel is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The actual success rate of Low Ogestrel is around 97%, taking into account women who forget or miss a pill. 

Remember, Low Ogestre will not protect you from STIs, nor will any other hormonal contraceptive. The only contraceptive to offer some protection against STIs is condoms.  

Ingredients

Active ingredients

White Low Ogestrel tablets contains 30mcg of ethinyl estradiol (EE) and 0.3mg of norgestrel. These are synthetic versions of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, respectively. The peach Low Ogestrel tablets are placebos to help you keep track of your pills. They do not contain any active ingredients. 

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in the white Low Ogestrel tablets are: croscarmellose sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and povidone. The ingredients in the peach placebo tablets are: anhydrous lactose, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Lake, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.  

Dosage

Low Ogestrel dosage

Your doctor will decide on your dose, depending on your personal requirements. The usual dose is 1 x tablet containing 30 mcg ethinyl estradiol and 0.3 mg Norgestrel for the first 21 days, and 1 x placebo pill for the following 7 days.

How to start taking Low Ogestrel

Make sure you read the package instructions carefully and never start taking Low Ogestrel without first consulting a doctor. Low Ogestrel comes in the form of 28-day blister packs, containing 21 white active tablets (containing the active hormones) and 7 peach inert tablets. The packs are accompanied by stick-on labels marked with the days of the week. You have two options of how to start Low Ogestrel:

  • Day 1 Start: Start the first white active tablet on the first day of your period (day 1 of your menstrual cycle). Choose the stick-on label that begins with the day of the week on which your period started, and stick onto the current pack to help you remember.
  • Sunday Start: Choose the stick-on label that starts with ‘Sunday’ and start with the first active pill on the first Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If you chose this method, make sure you use an alternative form of contraception, such as condoms, while you wait to begin Low Ogestrel.

How to take Low Ogestrel

You should take 1 pill at the same time each day. To help you remember, try and make this 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, move onto the inactive pills the next day. During these 7 days, you will experience a withdrawal bleed, which simulates a natural period. This does not necessarily mean you will bleed for 7days. At the end of a 28 day pack, you should start a new pack the next day without leaving a break, so make sure you have your next pack ready.

What do I do if I forget to take my pill?

If you miss an active pill, just take it as soon as you remember. You can then continue to take Low Ogestrel as usual. If you miss 2 of the active pills, take 2 immediately after you remember and take another 2 the following day. Then continue as normal. The effectiveness of Low Ogestrel is reduced when you miss 2 or more pills in a row, so make sure you use other non-hormonal contraceptive methods such as condoms for the next 7 days to avoid pregnancy. During this time, you may have some breakthrough bleeding, but that’s completely normal. You can consult a doctor if you have any questions about missing pills.

Side Effects

Low Ogestrel side effects

As with all medications, Low Ogestrel has several associated side effects. However, compared to birth control pills with a higher dose of estrogen, you can expect to experience less estrogen-related side effects.

Common side effects of Low Ogestrel include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Headaches

  • Feeling bloated

  • Breast tenderness or soreness

  • Swelling of the ankles or feet

  • Weight changes

  • Irregular periods or spotting (light bleeding between periods) - this is more common when you first start taking the pill.

If you experience any of the following serious side effects you should stop taking Low Ogestrel and speak to your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Lumps in the breast

  • Mood changes, including symptoms of depression or worsening of an existing mental health problem.

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Dark urine

  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes or skin)

  • Continuous spotting that doesn’t resolve within the first month

  • Sudden heavy bleeding

  • Missed periods

It is also possible to experience a severe allergic reaction to Low Ogestrel. If you experience any of the following symptoms you should seek emergency medical attention:

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat

  • Hives

As with all medications, there are risks you should be aware of. Low Ogestrel can cause dangerous side effects related to blood clots. These include strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms and others. Therefore, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in your chest, jaw or left arm

  • Weakness on one side of your body

  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing

  • Sudden dizziness or fainting

  • Confusion

  • Slurred speech

  • Severe headaches

  • Migraines

  • Headaches with vision changes or a lack of coordination

  • Unusual levels of sweating

  • Vision changes including double vision, visual impairments and blindness.

Contraindications and Precautions

Do NOT take Low Ogestrel if:

  • You are or think you could be pregnant, think or plan to become pregnant soon
  • You have a history of stroke or previously had a heart attack
  • You have blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), brain (stroke) or eyes
  • You previously had blood clots in the deep veins of your legs
  • You have chest pain (angina pectoris)
  • You have known or suspected breast cancer or cancer of the vagina, cervix or uterus lining
  • You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • You had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) during pregnancy or when using other contraceptive medication
  • You have a liver tumor (benign or cancerous)

Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You have fibrocystic disease of the breast, breast nodules, or had an abnormal breast x-ray or mammogram
  • You have diabetes
  • You have high cholesterol or elevated triglycerides
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have migraines or other headaches
  • You have epilepsy
  • You have depression
  • You have gallbladder, heart or kidney disease
  • You have a history of irregular menstrual periods
  • You smoke. It is strongly advised that you do NOT smoke when taking oral contraceptives.

Drug interactions

Before you begin to take Low Ogestrel, let your doctor know about any other medications you take (purchased with or without a prescription). The following drugs are known to disrupt the performance of Low Ogestrel:

  • Rifampin
  • Epilepsy medications, including barbiturates such as phenobarbital and phenytoin
  • Phenylbutazone

Antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. A backup contraceptive method, such as condoms, should be used if you are taking antibiotics.

Treatment Options

Alternatives to Low Ogestrel

If you are not sure whether Low Ogestrel is the right contraceptive pill for you, you can try different ones to find your perfect match. The wide variety of available pills means that they contain different forms of progestogen and/or estrogen, and some women find that they are more sensitive to different types. Low Ogestrel is advantageous for women who are sensitive to estrogen because it contains a lower dose of the hormone. If you have a known sensitivity to estrogen or are breastfeeding, you can try the progesterone-only pill. Also known as the ‘mini pill’, it does not contain any estrogen. Because the mini-pill is continuous, you won’t be getting a period each month.   If you prefer to try a different contraceptive method that doesn’t require you to take a pill every day, there are many options available. Hormonal non-oral contraceptives include the intrauterine device (IUD, Mirena, ParaGard, Skyla, Liletta, Kyleena), the implant (Implanon, Nexplanon), and the shot (Depo-Provera). The IUD is a good option for women diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension because its action is local – on the reproductive system. If you are unsure about the best contraception for you, speak to a health worker or doctor.   Non-hormonal contraceptive methods include barrier methods such as the cervical cap (FemCap) and condoms (male and female). The male condom is the only contraception that protects against STIs.

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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