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Ortho-Cept Review

Ortho-Cept is a birth control pill that contains two types of hormones (desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol). It is used to prevent pregnancy/


Indications for use

These pills are indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who choose to use birth control pills as a method of contraception.

Mechanism of action

The drug prevents pregnancy mainly by suppressing ovulation and increasing the secretion of cervical mucus.

Desogestrel inhibits the synthesis of gonadotropic hormones, thus preventing follicle maturation (blocks ovulation).

Ethinyl estradiol is a synthetic analogue of the follicular hormone estradiol, it regulates the menstrual cycle.

In addition to contraceptive properties, the drug has a number of effects that can be taken into account when choosing a method of contraception. Periods become more regular, less painful and less abundant. The latter circumstance leads to a decrease in the frequency of concomitant iron deficiency anemia.

Dosage and mode of application

Take 1 pill once daily for 28 days in a row at about the same time of the day otherwise directed by your doctor. Do not skip pills. You should have your period on Week 4. Once the pack is empty, start a new Ortho-Cept pack right away.

Side effects

In some cases, Ortho-Cept can cause side effects, including:

  • contact lens intolerance;
  • nausea;
  • abdominal pain;
  • vomiting, diarrhea;
  • hypersensitivity;
  • fluid retention;
  • headache;
  • migraine;
  • mood decline, mood swings;
  • decreased libido; increased libido;
  • breast tenderness, breast engorgement;
  • amenorrhea;
  • breast hypertrophy;
  • acyclic bleeding;
  • genital tract discharge;
  • discharge from the mammary glands;
  • rash;
  • hives;
  • acne;
  • erythema nodosum;
  • erythema multiforme;
  • alopecia;
  • itching;
  • venous and arterial thromboembolic complications;
  • weight gain;
  • weight loss.

If you have any severe and/or lastingside effects after taking these pill, contact your healthcare provider.


  • Untreated endometrial hyperplasia;
  • Vaginal bleeding of unknown etiology;
  • Arterial thrombosis or thromboembolism, including myocardial infarction, stroke; or prodromal conditions, including transient ischemic attack, angina pectoris;
  • Identified hereditary or acquired predisposition to VTE or ATE, including resistance to activated protein C, hyperhomocysteinemia, antithrombin III deficiency, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, antiphospholipid antibodies (antibodies to cardiolipin, lupus anticoagulant);
  • Current / history of venous thrombosis or thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary thromboembolism (pulmonary embolism);
  • Severe or multiple risk factors for VTE or ATE (smoking over the age of 35 years; obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg / m or more; prolonged immobilization; extensive trauma; any surgery on the lower extremities / in the pelvic region / neurosurgery; complicated valvular heart disease, atrial fibrillation);
  • Uncontrolled arterial hypertension (blood pressure 160/100 mm Hg and above);
  • Age under 18 years (there is no data on the effectiveness and safety of Ortho-Cept in adolescent girls under the age of 18);
  • Severe dyslipoproteinemia;
  • Extensive surgery with prolonged immobilization;
  • Current / history of pancreatitis, accompanied by severe hypertrig-lyceridemia;
  • Use of antiviral drugs containing ombitasvir / paritaprevir / ritonavir and dasabuvir;
  • Current / history of severe liver disease (before the normalization of liver function indicators);
  • Current / history of ttumors of the liver (benign and malignant);
  • History of migraine with focal neurological symptoms;
  • Diabetes mellitus with diabetic angiopathy;
  • Hormone-dependent malignant neoplasms of the genitals or mammary gland (including suspected);
  • Pregnancy (including expected);
  • Lactose intolerance, lactase deficiency, glucose-galactose;
  • Malabsorption.
  • The postpartum period;
  • Hypersensitivity to desogestrel and / or ethinyl estradiol, or to other drug excipients.


The interaction between Ortho-Cept and other drugs can cause acyclic bleeding and / or decrease the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Inducers of microsomal liver enzymes (for example, hydantoins, barbiturates, primidone, carbamazepine, rifampicin, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, felbamate, ritonavir, griseofulvin, bosentan, modafinil, rifabutin can increase clearance of sex hormones.

Antibiotics such as ampicillin and tetracycline can reduce contraceptive efficacy of Ortho-Cept.

Atorvastatin increases the AUC of ethinyl estradiol by approximately 20%.

Ascorbic acid can increase the concentration of ethinyl estradiol in blood plasma, which is possibly due to inhibition of conjugation.

The contraceptive reduces the effectiveness of indirect anticoagulants, anxiolytics, tricyclic antidepressants, theophylline, caffeine, hypoglycemic drugs, clofibrate and GCS.

The contraceptive can affect the metabolism of other drugs and change their concentration in blood plasma and tissues: increase (e.g., cyclosporine) or decrease (lamotrigine, salicylic acid, morphine).

Contact your doctor if you are going to combine birth control pills and other drugs.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

The use of the product during pregnancy is contraindicated. Discontinue use if pregnancy occurs.

The drug can affect lactation because desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol reduce the amount and change the composition of breast milk. Therefore, the drug is not recommended for use during breastfeeding. A small amount of hormones may be excreted in breast milk.

What if I miss a pill?

If you miss 1 light orange “active” tablet in Weeks 1, 2, or 3, take it as soon as you remember. If you miss 2 light orange “active” tablets in Week 1 or Week 2, take 2 light orange “active” tablets the day you remember and 2 light orange “active” tablets the next day; and then keep on taking 1 light orange “active” tablet per day until the pack is empty. Use a back-up method of contraception such as a condom or spermicide if you have sex in the 7 days after missing pills. If you miss 2 light orange “active” tablets in the third week or miss 3 or more light orange “active” tablets in a row, discard the remaining pills and start a new pack that same day. Use a back-up method of contraception if you have sex in the7 days after missing pills.


Always consult your doctor prior to taking birth control pills. Also, visit your doctor regularly for check-ups (at least 2 times a year).

Use with caution if you have current / history of: age over 35 years; smoking; thromboembolic diseases; dyslipoproteinemia; arterial hypertension; migraine without focal neurological symptomatology; uncomplicated valve heart diseases; varicose veins, superficial thrombophlebitis; postpartum period; diabetes; hemolytic uremic syndrome; chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis); sulfur-cell anemia; hypertriglyceridemia; diseases that first occurred or worsened during a previous pregnancy or against the background of a previous intake of birth control pills; hereditary angioedema; chloasma; mild and moderate liver disease.

If you have any of the conditions, diseases and risk factors listed below get aggravated due to the use of oral contraceptives, discontinue use.

Hormonal contraceptives do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.

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