WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Thrombotic and Other Vascular Events
Stop Lo Loestrin Fe if an arterial or deep venous thrombotic event occurs. Although use of COCs increases the risk of venous thromboembolism, pregnancy increases the risk of venous thromboembolism as much or more than the use of COCs. The risk of venous thromboembolism in women using COCs is 3 to 9 per 10,000 woman-years. The risk is highest during the first year of use of a COC. Use of COCs also increases the risk of arterial thromboses such as strokes and myocardial infarctions, especially in women with other risk factors for these events. The risk of thromboembolic disease due to oral contraceptives gradually disappears after COC use is discontinued.
If feasible, stop Lo Loestrin Fe at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery or other surgeries known to have an elevated risk of thromboembolism.
Start Lo Loestrin Fe no earlier than 4 weeks after delivery, in women who are not breastfeeding. The risk of postpartum thromboembolism decreases after the third postpartum week, whereas the risk of ovulation increases after the third postpartum week.
COCs have been shown to increase both the relative and attributable risks of cerebrovascular events (thrombotic and hemorrhagic strokes), although, in general, the risk is greatest in older (> 35 years of age), hypertensive women who also smoke. COCs also increase the risk for stroke in women with underlying risk factors.
Oral contraceptives must be used with caution in women with cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Stop Lo Loestrin Fe if there is unexplained loss of vision, proptosis, diplopia, papilledema, or retinal vascular lesions. Evaluate for retinal vein thrombosis immediately.
Lo Loestrin Fe is contraindicated in females who currently have or have had breast cancer because breast cancer may be hormonally sensitive [see Contraindications (4)].
Epidemiology studies have not found a consistent association between use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) and breast cancer risk. Studies do not show an association between ever (current or past) use of COCs and risk of breast cancer. However, some studies report a small increase in the risk of breast cancer among current or recent users (<6 months since last use) and current users with longer duration of COC use [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
Some studies suggest that COCs are associated with an increase in the risk of cervical cancer or intraepithelial neoplasia. However, there is controversy about the extent to which these findings may be due to differences in sexual behavior and other factors.
Discontinue Lo Loestrin Fe if jaundice develops. Steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal and COC causation has been excluded.
Hepatic adenomas are associated with COC use. An estimate of the attributable risk is 3.3 cases per 100,000 COC users. Rupture of hepatic adenomas may cause death through intra-abdominal hemorrhage.
Studies have shown an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in long-term (>8 years) COC users. However, the attributable risk of liver cancers in COC users is less than one case per million users.
Oral contraceptive-related cholestasis may occur in women with a history of pregnancy-related cholestasis. Women with a history of COC-related cholestasis may have the condition recur with subsequent COC use.
Risk of Liver Enzyme Elevations with Concomitant Hepatitis C Treatment
During clinical trials with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen that contains ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, ALT elevations greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), including some cases greater than 20 times the ULN, were significantly more frequent in women using ethinyl estradiol-containing medications, such as COCs. Discontinue Lo Loestrin Fe prior to starting therapy with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir [see Contraindications (4)]. Lo Loestrin Fe can be restarted approximately 2 weeks following completion of treatment with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen.
High Blood Pressure
For women with well-controlled hypertension, monitor blood pressure and stop Lo Loestrin Fe if blood pressure rises significantly. Women with uncontrolled hypertension or hypertension with vascular disease should not use COCs.
An increase in blood pressure has been reported in women taking COCs, and this increase is more likely in older women with extended duration of use. The incidence of hypertension increases with increasing concentrations of progestin.
Studies suggest a small increased relative risk of developing gallbladder disease among COC users.
Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolic Effects
Carefully monitor prediabetic and diabetic women who are taking Lo Loestrin Fe. COCs may decrease glucose tolerance in a dose-related fashion.
Consider alternative contraception for women with uncontrolled dyslipidemias. A small proportion of women will have adverse lipid changes while on COCs.
Women with hypertriglyceridemia, or a family history thereof, may be at an increased risk of pancreatitis when using COCs.
If a woman taking Lo Loestrin Fe develops new headaches that are recurrent, persistent, or severe, evaluate the cause and discontinue Lo Loestrin Fe if indicated.
An increase in frequency or severity of migraine during COC use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason for immediate discontinuation of the COC.
Bleeding Irregularities and Amenorrhea
Unscheduled (breakthrough or intracyclic) bleeding and spotting sometimes occur in patients on COCs, especially during the first three months of use. If bleeding persists or occurs after previously regular cycles, check for causes such as pregnancy or malignancy. If pathology and pregnancy are excluded, bleeding irregularities may resolve over time or with a change to a different COC.
The clinical trial that evaluated the efficacy of Lo Loestrin Fe also assessed unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting. The participants in this 12-month clinical trial (N = 1,582 who had at least one post-treatment evaluation) completed over 15,000 cycles of exposure.
A total of 1,257 women (85.9 percent) experienced unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting at some time during Cycles 2 to 13 of this study. The incidence of unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting was highest during Cycle 2 (53 percent) and lowest at Cycle 13 (36 percent). Among these women, the mean number of days of unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting during a 28-day cycle ranged from 1.8 to 3.2 days.
Scheduled (withdrawal) bleeding and/or spotting remained fairly constant over the one year study, with an average of less than 2 days per cycle.
Women who are not pregnant and use Lo Loestrin Fe may experience amenorrhea (absence of scheduled and unscheduled bleeding/spotting). In the clinical trial with Lo Loestrin Fe, the incidence of amenorrhea increased from 32 percent in Cycle 1 to 49 percent by Cycle 13. If scheduled (withdrawal) bleeding does not occur, consider the possibility of pregnancy. If the patient has not adhered to the prescribed dosing schedule (missed one or more active tablets or started taking them on a day later than she should have), consider the possibility of pregnancy at the time of the first missed period and take appropriate diagnostic measures. If the patient has adhered to the prescribed regimen and misses two consecutive periods, rule out pregnancy.
Some women may experience amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea after stopping COCs, especially when such a condition was preexistent.
COC Use before or during Early Pregnancy
Extensive epidemiologic studies have revealed no increased risk of birth defects in women who have used oral contraceptives prior to pregnancy. Studies also do not suggest a teratogenic effect, particularly in so far as cardiac anomalies and limb reduction defects are concerned, when oral contraceptives are taken inadvertently during early pregnancy. Lo Loestrin Fe use should be discontinued if pregnancy is confirmed.
Administration of oral contraceptives to induce withdrawal bleeding should not be used as a test for pregnancy [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Women with a history of depression should be carefully observed and Lo Loestrin Fe discontinued if depression recurs to a serious degree.
Interference with Laboratory Tests
The use of COCs may change the results of some laboratory tests, such as coagulation factors, lipids, glucose tolerance, and binding proteins. Women on thyroid hormone replacement therapy may need increased doses of thyroid hormone because serum concentrations of thyroid binding globulin increase with use of COCs.
A woman who is taking COCs should have a yearly visit with her healthcare provider for a blood pressure check and for other indicated healthcare.
In women with hereditary angioedema, exogenous estrogens may induce or exacerbate symptoms of angioedema. Chloasma may occasionally occur, especially in women with a history of chloasma gravidarum. Women with a tendency to chloasma should avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation while taking COCs.
Lo Loestrin Fe (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol tablets, ethinyl estradiol tablets and ferrous fumarate tablets) provides an oral contraceptive regimen consisting of 24 blue active tablets and 2 white active tablets that contain the active ingredients specified for each tablet below, followed by 2 non-hormonal placebo tablets:
- 24 blue, round tablets each containing 1 mg norethindrone acetate and 10 mcg ethinyl estradiol
- 2 white, hexagonal tablets each containing 10 mcg ethinyl estradiol
- 2 brown, round tablets each containing 75 mg ferrous fumarate
Each blue tablet also contains the inactive ingredients mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, povidone, vitamin E and lactose monohydrate.
Each white tablet also contains the inactive ingredients mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, povidone, vitamin E and lactose monohydrate.
Each brown tablet contains ferrous fumarate, mannitol, povidone, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, sucralose and spearmint flavor. The ferrous fumarate tablets do not serve any therapeutic purpose. Ferrous fumarate tablets are not USP for dissolution and assay.
The empirical formula of ethinyl estradiol is C20H24O2 and the structural formula is:
The chemical name of ethinyl estradiol is [19-Norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trien-20-yne-3,17-diol, (17α)-].
The empirical formula of norethindrone acetate is C22H28O3 and the structural formula is:
The chemical name of norethindrone acetate is [19-Norpregn-4-en-20-yn-3-one, 17-(acetyloxy)-, (17α)-].
FDA-Approved Patient Labeling
Guide for Using Lo Loestrin Fe
|WARNING TO WOMEN WHO SMOKE
|Do not use Lo Loestrin Fe if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (heart and blood vessel problems) from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Birth control pills help to lower the chances of becoming pregnant when taken as directed. They do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
What is Lo Loestrin Fe?
Lo Loestrin Fe is a birth control pill. It contains two female hormones, an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol, and a progestin called norethindrone acetate.
How well does Lo Loestrin Fe work?
Your chance of getting pregnant depends on how well you follow the directions for taking your birth control pills. The better you follow the directions, the less chance you have of getting pregnant.
Based on the results of one clinical study, about 2 to 4 out of 100 women may get pregnant during the first year they use Lo Loestrin Fe.
Women with a BMI above 35 kg/m2 were not studied in the clinical trial, so it is not known how well Lo Loestrin Fe protects against pregnancy in such women. If you are overweight, discuss with your healthcare provider whether Lo Loestrin Fe is the best choice for you.
The following chart shows the chance of getting pregnant for women who use different methods of birth control. Each box on the chart contains a list of birth control methods that are similar in effectiveness. The most effective methods are at the top of the chart. The box on the bottom of the chart shows the chance of getting pregnant for women who do not use birth control and are trying to get pregnant.
How do I take Lo Loestrin Fe?
- Take one pill every day at the same time. If you miss pills you could get pregnant. This includes starting the pack late. The more pills you miss, the more likely you are to get pregnant.
- You may have spotting or light bleeding, or may feel sick to your stomach during the first few months of taking Lo Loestrin Fe. If you have spotting or light bleeding or feel sick to your stomach, do not stop taking the pill. The problem will usually go away. If it doesn't go away, check with your healthcare provider.
- Missing pills can also cause spotting or light bleeding, even when you take these missed pills later. On the days you take 2 pills to make up for missed pills, you could also feel a little sick to your stomach.
- If you have trouble remembering to take Lo Loestrin Fe, talk to your healthcare provider about how to make pill-taking easier or about using another method of birth control.
- If you have vomiting or diarrhea (within 3 to 4 hours after you take your pill), you should follow the instructions for “What to Do if You Miss Pills”.
- If you have any questions or are unsure about the information in this leaflet, call your healthcare provider.
|Before you start taking Lo Loestrin Fe
1. Decide what time of day you want to take your pill. It is important to take it at the same time every day.
2. Look at your pill pack: The Lo Loestrin Fe pill pack has 24 "active" blue pills (with hormones) and 2 “active” white pills (with hormones) for Weeks 1, 2, 3 and part of Week 4. The pill pack also has 2 "reminder" brown pills (without hormones) for the last part of Week 4.
- Where on the pack to start taking pills,
- In what order to take the pills (follow the arrows), and
- The week numbers as shown in the picture above
4. Have ready at all times:
- Another kind of birth control (such as a condom and spermicide) to use as a back-up in case you miss pills
- An extra pill pack
|When to start the first pack of Lo Loestrin Fe
- Take the day label strip that starts with the first day of your period. (This is the day you start bleeding or spotting, even if it is almost midnight when the bleeding begins.)
- Place the day label strip on the tablet dispenser over the area that has the days of the week (starting with Sunday) printed on the plastic.
- Take the first blue pill of the first pack during the first 24 hours of your period.
- You will not need to use a back-up method of birth control, because you are starting the pill at the beginning of your period. However, if you start Lo Loestrin Fe later than the first day of your period, or if you start after having a baby and you have not yet resumed your periods, you should use another method of birth control (such as a condom and spermicide) as a back-up method until you have taken 7 blue pills.
When You Switch from a Different Method of Hormonal Contraception
- When you switch from another birth control pill, start Lo Loestrin Fe on the first day you would have started your previous birth control pack.
- When you switch from a vaginal ring or skin patch, finish the 21 days of use, and wait 7 days after removal of the ring or patch before starting Lo Loestrin Fe.
- When you switch from a progestin-only pill, start Lo Loestrin Fe the next day.
- When you switch from an implant, start Lo Loestrin Fe on the day of implant removal.
- If you switch from an injectable contraceptive, start Lo Loestrin Fe on the day on which the next injection would be due.
- If you switch from an IUD, discuss with your healthcare provider when to start Lo Loestrin Fe.
|What to do during the month
- Take one pill at the same time every day until the pack is empty.
• Do not skip pills even if you are spotting or bleeding between monthly periods or feel sick to your stomach (nausea).
• Do not skip pills even if you do not have sex very often.
- When you finish a pack of Lo Loestrin Fe, start the next pack on the day after your last brown “reminder" pill. Do not skip any days between packs.
|What to do if you miss pills
Birth control pills may not be as effective if you miss any blue or white pills, especially if you miss the first few or the last few blue pills in a pack.
If you miss ONE blue pill, follow these steps:
- Take it as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at your regular time. This means you may take two pills in 1 day.
- You do not need to use a back-up birth control method if you have sex.
If you miss TWO blue pills in a row in Week 1 or Week 2 of your pack, follow these steps:
1. Two pills on the day you remember and two pills the next day.
2. One pill a day until you finish the pack.
- You could become pregnant if you have sex during the first 7 days after you restart your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as a condom and spermicide) as a back-up for those 7 days.
If you miss TWO pills (blue or white) in a row in Week 3 or Week 4 of your pack, follow these steps:
- Throw out the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
- You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare provider because you might be pregnant.
- You could become pregnant if you have sex during the first 7 days after you restart your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as a condom and spermicide) as a back-up for those 7 days after you restart your pills.
If you miss THREE OR MORE pills (blue or white) in a row at any time, follow these steps:
- Throw out the rest of the pill pack and start a new pack that same day.
- You may not have your period this month but this is expected. However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call your healthcare provider because you might be pregnant.
- You could become pregnant if you have sex on the days when you missed pills or during the first 7 days after restarting your pills. You MUST use a non-hormonal birth control method (such as a condom and spermicide) as a back-up the next time you have sex and for the first 7 days after you restart your pills.
If you forget either of the 2 brown "reminder" pills in Week 4, follow these steps:
- Throw away the pill you missed.
- Start a new pack on the same day you usually start a new pack.
- You do not need to use a back-up method of birth control.
If you are still not sure what to do about the pills you have missed:
- Use a back-up method of birth control anytime you have sex.
- Keep taking one pill each day until you can reach your healthcare provider.
Who should not take Lo Loestrin Fe?
Your healthcare provider will not give you Lo Loestrin Fe if you have:
- Ever had blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), or eyes (retinal thrombosis)
- Ever had a stroke
- Ever had a heart attack
- Certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause blood clots to form in the heart
- An inherited problem with your blood that makes it clot more than normal
- High blood pressure that medicine can't control
- Diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage
- Ever had certain kinds of severe migraine headaches with aura, numbness, weakness or changes in vision
- Ever had breast cancer, which may be sensitive to female hormones
- Liver disease, including liver tumors
- Take any Hepatitis C drug combination containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir. This may increase levels of the liver enzyme “alanine aminotransferase” (ALT) in the blood.
Also, do not take birth control pills if you:
- Smoke and are over 35 years old
- Are allergic to anything in Lo Loestrin Fe
Birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have ever had jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) caused by pregnancy, also called cholestasis of pregnancy.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any of the above conditions (your healthcare provider may recommend another method of birth control).
What else should I know about taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
Birth control pills do not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Do not skip any pills, even if you do not have sex often.
If you miss a period, you could be pregnant. However, some women miss periods or have light periods on birth control pills, even when they are not pregnant. Contact your healthcare provider for advice if you:
- Think you are pregnant
- Miss one period and have not taken your birth control pills every day
- Miss two periods in a row
Birth control pills should not be taken during pregnancy. However, birth control pills taken by accident during pregnancy are not known to cause birth defects.
You should stop Lo Loestrin Fe at least four weeks before you have surgery and not restart it until at least two weeks after the surgery, due to an increased risk of blood clots.
If you are breastfeeding, consider another birth control method until you are ready to stop breastfeeding. Birth control pills that contain estrogen, like Lo Loestrin Fe, may decrease the amount of milk you make. A small amount of the pill's hormones pass into breast milk.
Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and herbal products that you take. Some medicines and herbal products may make birth control pills less effective, including:
- St. John’s wort
Consider using another birth control method when you take medicines that may make birth control pills less effective.
Birth control pills may interact with lamotrigine, an anticonvulsant used for epilepsy. This may increase the risk of seizures, so your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dose of lamotrigine.
If you have vomiting or diarrhea, your birth control pills may not work as well. Use another birth control method, like a condom and spermicide, until you check with your healthcare provider.
If you are scheduled for any laboratory tests, tell your healthcare provider that you are taking birth control pills. Certain blood tests may be affected by birth control pills.
What are the most serious risks of taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
Like pregnancy, birth control pills increase the risk of serious blood clots, especially in women who have other risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, or age greater than 35. It is possible to die from a problem caused by a blood clot, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
Some examples of serious blood clots are blood clots in the:
- Legs (deep vein thrombosis)
- Lungs (pulmonary embolus)
- Eyes (loss of eyesight)
- Heart (heart attack)
- Brain (stroke)
A few women who take birth control pills may get:
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder problems
- Rare cancerous or noncancerous liver tumors
All of these events are uncommon in healthy women.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:
- Persistent leg pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Sudden blindness, partial or complete
- Severe pain or pressure in your chest
- Sudden, severe headache unlike your usual headaches
- Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or trouble speaking
- Yellowing of the skin or eyeballs
What are the common side effects of birth control pills?
The most common side effects of birth control pills are:
- Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
- Breast tenderness
These side effects are usually mild and usually disappear with time.
Less common side effects are:
- Less sexual desire
- Bloating or fluid retention
- Blotchy darkening of the skin, especially on the face
- High blood sugar, especially in women who already have diabetes
- High fat (cholesterol, triglyceride) levels in the blood
- Depression, especially if you have had depression in the past. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have any thoughts of harming yourself
- Problems tolerating contact lenses
- Weight gain
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects that concern you. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
No serious problems have been reported from a birth control pill overdose, even when accidentally taken by children.
Do birth control pills cause cancer?
It is not known if hormonal birth control pills cause breast cancer. Some studies, but not all, suggest that there could be a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer among current users with longer duration of use.
If you have breast cancer now, or have had it in the past, do not use hormonal birth control because some breast cancers are sensitive to hormones.
Women who use birth control pills may have a slightly higher chance of getting cervical cancer. However, this may be due to other reasons such as having more sexual partners.
What should I know about my period when taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
When you take Lo Loestrin Fe you may have bleeding and spotting between periods, called unscheduled bleeding. Approximately half of the women who use Lo Loestrin Fe have unscheduled bleeding or spotting in the first months of use, and about one-third of users continue to have unscheduled bleeding or spotting after one year of use. If the unscheduled bleeding or spotting is heavy or lasts for more than a few days, you should discuss this with your healthcare provider.
What if I miss my scheduled period when taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
It is not uncommon to miss your period. However, if you go two or more months in a row without a period, or you miss your period after a month where you did not take all your pills correctly, call your healthcare provider because you may be pregnant. Also notify your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of pregnancy such as morning sickness or unusual breast tenderness. Stop taking Lo Loestrin Fe if you are pregnant.
What if I want to become pregnant?
You may stop taking the pill whenever you wish. Consider a visit with your healthcare provider for a pre-pregnancy checkup before you stop taking the pill.
General Advice about Lo Loestrin Fe
Your healthcare provider prescribed Lo Loestrin Fe for you. Please do not share Lo Loestrin Fe with anyone else. Keep Lo Loestrin Fe out of the reach of children.
If you have concerns or questions, ask your healthcare provider. You may also ask your pharmacist for a more detailed label written for healthcare professionals.
Allergan USA, Inc.
Madison, NJ 07940
Lo Loestrin® is a registered trademark of Allergan Pharmaceuticals International Limited
Patented. See www.allergan.com/patents
© 2022 Allergan. All rights reserved.