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Ortho Tri-Cyclen Review

Ortho Tri-Cyclen is oral triphasic contraceptive that contains 2 types of hormones, norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol.


Indications for use

Ortho Tri-Cyclen is used as a contraceptive for preventing pregnancy and for treating acne (in some cases).

Mechanism of action

Hormones contained in the medication prevent ovulation. This drug also causes changes in your mucous membrane of the cervix and uterus, which complicates the penetration of sperm into the uterus and is more difficult for a fertilized egg attached to the uterus.

Mode of application and dosage

A pack may contain 21 pills (all with active medication) or 28 pills (21 pills with active medication and 7 inert pills). The pills should be started using on the 1st day of your period. Take one pill every day in the order specified on the pack. If you are using Ortho Tri-Cyclen 28 pills, take an inactive pill once daily for 7 days after you have taken the last active pill. If you are using Ortho Tri-Cyclen 21 pills, do not take any tablets for 7 days after you have taken the last active pill. Menstrual bleeding is expected during the fourth week of the period. After you have taken the last pill with no medication or gone 7 days without taking any tablets, start a new pack without interruption. If you do not get the expected period, consult a gynecologist.
You may need to use barrier birth control methods, such as condoms, when you use hormonal contraceptives for the first time.


You must not take these hormonal contraceptives if you have:

  • high blood pressure:
  • hear disease, history of a heart attack, stroke or blood clot, impairment of the heart valve);
  • chest pain;
  • unusual vaginal bleeding, which was not checked by a doctor;
  • eyesight problems;
  • kidney problems;
  • a history of cancer associated with hormones, such as breast or uterine cancer;
  • liver cancer;
  • a history of jaundice;
  • migraine.

To ensure that these hormonal pills are safe for you, inform your gynecologist if you have or ever had:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure;
  • an increased cholesterol level or triglycerides;
  • a history of depression;
  • disease of the gallbladder;
  • diseases of the liver or kidney;
  • diabetes;
  • convulsions or epilepsy;
  • a history of irregular menstrual cycles;
  • a history of fibrocystic breast disease, nodes or an abnormal mammogram.

Warning: By taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen, you may increase the risk of blood clots, a stroke, or a heart attack, especially if you have other conditions or are overweight. Smoking can significantly increase the risk of such side effects as blood clots, stroke or heart attack. You should not take these contraceptive pills if you smoke and are over 35.

Side effects

Discontinue using Ortho Tri-Cyclen and immediately consult a doctor if you have:

  • a stroke – numbness or weakness, headaches, slurred speech, eyesight problems;
  • a blood clot in the lungs – chest pain, coughing, wheezing, rapid breathing, blood coughing;
  • a blood clot in the leg – pain, swelling, redness on one or both legs;
  • a heart attack – chest pain, jaw pain, shoulder pain, nausea, sweating;
  • problems with the liver – nausea, pain in the upper stomach, itching, fatigue, poor appetite, a changed color of urine, clayey stools, jaundice;
  • change in the nature or severity of migraine headaches;
  • swelling of hands, ankles, or feet;
  • symptoms of depression – problems with sleep, weakness, fatigue, mood changes.

Common side effects may also include:

  • nausea, vomiting;
  • tenderness of the mammary glands;
  • freckles or darkening of the facial skin, loss of hair on the head;
  • headache, dizziness, nervousness;
  • problems with contact lenses;
  • changes in weight or appetite;
  • irregular menstrual bleeding or spotting;
  • vaginal itching or discharge;
  • rash.

This is not a full list of possible negative events, other adverse reactions may occur. Ask your doctor about all side effects.


Some drugs can make Ortho Tri-Cyclen less effective in preventing pregnancy. These are antibiotics, hepatitis C drugs, HIV / AIDS drugs, withdrawal drugs or barbiturate sedatives. Tell your doctor about all other medicines that you use.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a pill of Ortho Tri-Cyclen, follow the following instructions. Remember that missing a tablet increases the risk of becoming pregnant.

  • If you miss one tablet, take two tablets per day as soon as you remember. Then take one tablet a day for the rest of the package.
  • If you miss two active pills in a row in the first or second weeks, take two tablets a day for two consecutive days. Then take one tablet a day for the rest of the package. Use an additional method of contraception for at least 7 days after the missed tablets.
  • If you miss two pills with medication in a row in week 3, do not use the rest of the pills and start a new package on the same day.
  • If you miss three active tablets in a row in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd rows, do not use the rest pills in the package and start a new package on the same day.
  • If you miss two or more tablets, you may not have a period within a month. If you miss a menstruation for two consecutive months, consult your doctor, because you can be pregnant.
  • If you miss an inert pill, throw it away it and continue taking one inert tablet a day until the package is empty. If you miss an inert tablet, you do not need an additional birth control.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen and pregnancy

Do not use Ortho Tri-Cyclen if you are pregnant. Stop taking this drug and inform your doctor if you get pregnant, or if you miss two periods in a row. If you have recently given birth to a child, wait 1 month before using the birth control pills. Hormones contained in this preparation can penetrate into breast milk and harm a baby. The drug can also reduce the production of breast milk. Do not use these pills during breastfeeding.

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