Levlen are birth control pills, which contain two active substances:
- Levonorgestrel 0. 15 mg,
- Ethinyl estradiol 0.03 mg.
- 1, 3, or 4 calendar-blister packs x 28 pills in each blister.
Labeler / Packager
Each blister pack of Levlen contains:
Active pills (21’s)
B / 21
Inactive pills (7’s)
B / 28
Levlen is a famous brand of combined oral contraceptive medication by the company Bayer. The drug is included in the ARTG list and is marketed in Australia more than 20 years already.
Levlen is one of the prescription drugs and is used to prevent unwanted pregnancies in:
Women of childbearing age
Women of childbearing age
Combination birth control pills are not recommended for use in women during the postmenopausal period, as well as in nursing mothers, since Levlen administration can reduce the amount of breast milk and alter its composition.
Levlen: composition of tablets and their action
Levlen is a combination birth control medication and contains a fixed-dose combination of two female hormones:
0.03mg Ethinyl estradiol
Low doses of hormones are contained in beige tablets, and these are called active pills. Tablets of white color do not contain hormones and are called placebo tablets.
These tablets are designed for use during the fourth week (when all active tablets are already taken) and help women not to miss the administration of a pill from a new package.
The action of birth control pills Levlen is aimed at:
Ovulation inhibition (prevents maturation and release of the egg from the ovary)
Thickening of cervical mucus (prevents penetration of spermatozoa into the uterine cavity)
With the correct use of Levlen tablets, their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy is about 99%. However, due to certain circumstances, as a missed dose of birth control pills or co-administration with other drugs, can somewhat reduce the effectiveness of this medication (down to 92%).
Therefore, to avoid pregnancy, women need to thoroughly follow the recommendations for Levlen use and not to miss the pills.
Dosage and Administration
Levlen is taken by one tablet a day, regardless of meals. To achieve a stable level of sex hormones in the blood, tablets should be taken at the same time of day, preferably before bedtime.
The sequence of Levlen tablets administration is indicated on the blister pack with arrows. You need to begin taking the medication with the red section, where the days of the week are marked.
The first tablet from the red section should match the name of the week day. The following tablets are taken strictly according to the directions of the arrow on the blister.
If you are starting to take oral contraceptive for the first time
It is recommended to start Levlen administration on the first day of menstrual bleeding. It is important to keep in mind that the effect of tablets develops gradually over several days.
Therefore, when you have sex at the beginning of the use of birth control pills, you need to use additional non-hormonal contraceptives. For example, a condom, spermicides or a diaphragm.
As a rule, the period begins within 2-3 days after the start of placebo tablets administration and can continue until the first white Levlen tablets are taken from the new package. It is recommended to start taking tablets from a new blister on the same day of the week, when you started the previous blister.
How to switch from another hormonal contraceptive to Levlen
Other combined oral contraceptive pills
Start using Levlen after taking the last active pill of another oral contraceptive.
Take the first Levlen pill the day after you stop taking the minipill.
Ring / Patch / Implant / IUS
Start taking Levlen on the same day, when you stopped using birth control methods listed.
Take Levlen pill in the day, in which the next injection was planned.
Administration of missed tablets
Skipping white tablets (placebo) can be ignored. When you skip these pills, the efficiency of Levlen tablets does not reduce, while missing the active pills significantly increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
Do not worry if you missed taking an active Levlen tablet for less than 12 hours. The missed pill should be taken as soon as you remember about it, after which the next one should be taken according to the set schedule.
Additional measures to prevent pregnancy should not be taken, because contraceptive protection is not violated.
The probability of getting pregnant depends on how much time passed since skipping the pill, and what number was the beige tablet that was skipped.
The risk of conception increases, if you miss a Levlen pill at the beginning or the end of the package, and if more than 12 hours passed since the missed dose.
- If one or more tablets are missed in the first week
Woman is recommended to take the last missed pill as soon as she remembers about it. It may happen that two Levlen tablets will be taken within one day.
The remaining tablets are taken according to the schedule, indicated on the blister. Throughout the following week, additional contraceptive measures should be used (e.g., a condom) during the intercourses.
- If one or more Levlen tablets are missed in the 2nd week
One missed tablet or the last tablet of those missed ones should be taken as soon as possible, even if a woman has to take two beige active tablets at once. Following pills should be taken in their usual time.
When missing Levlen tablets during the second week, there is no need for the woman to use extra contraceptive precautions, if all active pills were taken in time during the first week.
However, if gaps in the pills administration were present during the first week, additional methods of birth control should be used during the intercourse.
- If one or more Levlen tablets are missed during week 3
Missing pills increases the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy, since the phase of taking placebo tablets approaches, and these do not contain sex hormones.
The missed tablet should be taken as soon as possible. If all Levlen tablets were taken on time during the previous week, you are allowed not to use additional contraceptive measures.
Otherwise, you can use one of the following schedules of Levlen administration (along with additional contraceptive method) to increase the contraceptive effectiveness:
- Take the last missed pill as soon as possible, even if you have to take 2 pills in a day.
- Continue taking active pills until you finish them. 7 inactive tablets should be discarded.
- Immediately begin taking active tablets from a new blister pack.
- Stop taking the pills from the current package. Discard the remaining pills.
- Take a break in Levlen tablets for 7 days, including the days when you missed the tablets.
- After a 7-day break, start taking active pills from a new package.
Missed tablets increase the likelihood of conception. If the menstrual bleeding did not come during the period of placebo Levlen tablets use, woman might have gotten pregnant.
Before you continue taking the tablets from the new package, you need to take a pregnancy test or have an ultrasound examination.
Possible side effects and contraindications
Levlen tablets are usually well tolerated. Side effects can develop in the first months of use and then decrease and pass completely.
The most common adverse reactions that occur upon Levlen use are:
- weight gain;
- frequent mood swings;
- headache and abdominal pain;
- discomfort and pain in the mammary glands.
In some women, due to the individual characteristics of the body, more serious side effects may develop during the use of combination birth control pills (including Levlen).
These include venous or arterial thrombosis (obstruction of blood vessels by thrombi). Levlen should be discontinued, if any of the following symptoms manifest during the use of these birth control pills:
- shortness of breath and chest pain;
- severe headaches;
- pain and swelling of the legs;
- severe dizziness.
Women are at a higher risk of thrombosis development, if they are over 35 years of age, genetically predisposed to thrombosis, and have a valvular heart disease.
Levlen is contraindicated in women with a history of venous thromboembolism and migraine, as well as in the presence of such diseases and conditions, as:
- breast cancer
- severe liver disease
- transient ischemic attack
- vaginal bleeding.
Oral contraceptive preparation Levlen is not recommended for use, if pregnancy has occurred. It is important to know that birth control pills do not possess an abortive effect, and taking them does not lead to a pregnancy termination.
Since Levlen can affect the production of breast milk and penetrate the child’s body with it, the use of these pills is not recommended for lactating women.
To prevent pregnancy during lactation, women usually use progestin-only birth control methods.
Levlen interaction with other medications
It is known that simultaneous administration of Levlen with some drugs can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. To prevent a decrease in contraceptive activity and not to promote adverse reactions, you should avoid combining Levlen with the following medications:
- Erythromycin (E-Mycin);
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin);
- Rifabutin (Mycobutin);
- Rifampicin (Rifadin);
- Itraconazole (Sporanox);
- Voriconazole (Vfend);
- Fluconazole (Diflucan);
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral);
Levlen pills may also interfere with drugs used to treat:
- insomnia (melatonin);
- epilepsy (like Topiramate);
- respiratory disease (like Theophylline);
- arterial hypertension (like Verapamil);
- osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (like Etoricoxib).
Levlen tablets are not recommended to be washed down with grapefruit juice or to be combined with OTC medicines, which contain St John’s Wort.
Levlen generics in USA
Levlen is an Australian brand of birth control pills, which is not available in US pharmacies. Combined oral contraceptive preparations, which work in the same way as Levlen does, can be purchased in the US under trade names:
Listed birth control pills are Levlen generics, have a similar effect and should be administered by the same schedule. However, the total number of blisters and tablets, included in one cardboard package of a generic may differ from that of the original medication.