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Ortho-Cyclen Review

Ortho-Cyclen is oral combination birth control pills used to prevent pregnancy. The medication contains two types of hormones: norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol.


Indications for use

Ortho-Cyclen is commonly used to prevent pregnancy. In some cases, it’s also used to treat severe acne in women.

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of action is associated with suppression of the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary system, suppression of the production of gonadotropic hormones, which leads to suppression of ovulation. In addition, the viscosity of the cervical mucus increases, the transport function of the fallopian tubes decreases, the implantation capacity of the endometrium changes.

Mode of application and dosage

Read the instructions for use carefully before you start using this Ortho-Cyclen contraceptive.

Take these pills orally, usually once a day. Try to take your pill at the same time each day. Start with the first pill in the pack and take them in the correct order, without interruption. Do not skip the tablets.
It’s recommended to take this contraceptive after mean in the evening or at bedtime. You may take this medication at another time of day if it is more convenient for you.

Ortho-Cyclen pack contains 21 pills with female hormones, norgestimate 0.25mg/ethinyl estradiol 35mcg and 7 reminder pills with no hormones. Take one active pill once daily for 21 days without interruption, then take one inactive pill once daily for 7 days without interruption. With these pills, you should have your menstruation during the 4th week of the period. After you have finished the pack, start a new one the next day whether or not you have your menstrual bleeding. If you do not have menstruation, visit your doctor.


Do not use Ortho-Cyclen birth control pills if you have any of the following conditions:

  • pregnancy and lactation,
  • tumors of the mammary glands and reproductive system,
  • acyclic spotting from the genital tract of unknown origin,
  • thrombophlebitis,
  • thromboembolic disease,
  • liver diseases and related disorders of its function,
  • renal dysfunction,
  • severe diabetes,
  • fat metabolism disorders,
  • sickle cell anemia.

The drug is not recommended to smoking women over 35 years of age and women over 40 years of age.

Side effects

Stop using Ortho-Cyclen if you have any of the following side effects:

  • nausea,
  • engorgement of the mammary glands,
  • headache,
  • depression,
  • urine retention in the body,
  • change in body weight,
  • decreased libido.


The effectiveness of the contraceptive may reduce in patients who use rifampicin, barbiturates, modafinil, epileptic drugs (hydantoin, carbamazepine, topiramate), ampicillin, tetracyclines, griseofulvin, and phenylbutazone. The first signs of such interaction may be spontaneous menstruation. In such cases, a woman needs to use other methods of contraception.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss the usual time of taking a pill, it should be taken immediately. If the deviation from the usual intake time is less than 12 hours, the drug still provides a reliable contraceptive effect. The effectiveness of the drug decreases with a delay of more than 12 hours. It this case, you should immediately resume taking the medications leaving a missing pill in the package. However, before the end of this period, you should use additional means of protection from pregnancy (for example, a condom). In such case, you cannot rely on “safe days” or “temperature” contraception.

Ortho-Cyclen and pregnancy

After the birth of the child, the use of Ortho-Cyclen should be resumed/started no earlier than 1 month after the delivery, provided that the woman is not breastfeeding.

After abortion or miscarriage for a period of up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, a woman can start taking the pills immediately, in these cases, the use of additional methods of contraception is not required. After an induced or spontaneous abortion, hormonal contraceptives can be started on the 21st day after the abortion or on the first day of natural menstruation. In these cases, during the first 7 days of the period, in addition to taking these pills, additional barrier contraceptives should be used. In exceptional cases, the use of the birth control pills can be started 1 week after the abortion. Bear in mind that the risk of thromboembolic complications is increased with using Ortho-Cyclen during the post-abortion period.

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