Types of oral contraceptives.
(a) Estrogen and progestin combination products. These preparations
are supplied in a package containing 21 or 28 tablets. In that package, 21 of the tablets
contain a combination of estrogen and progestin and seven tablets contain inert
ingredients or iron (25 milligrams of elemental iron per tablet).
(b) Low dose progesterone products. These products contain
progesterone. A tablet is to be taken each day of the cycle.
(c) High dose estrogen (DES). This tablet is taken within 72 hours of
intercourse. High dose estrogen is not a routinely used oral contraceptive. It is only
used in cases of rape and incest.
(3) Side effects. Some significant side effects are associated with the use of
oral contraceptive agents. Some of these are:
(a) Breakthrough bleeding. This side effect is seen in patients taking
(b) Thromboembolic disease. Symptoms associated with this
particular side effect include severe headache, blurring or loss of vision, flashing lights,
leg pains, chest pains, and shortness of breath.
(c) Candida vaginitis. This is a yeast infection of the vagina. This side
effect is sometimes seen in patients taking high progestin products.
(d) Edema and breast enlargement. This side effect is seen most often
in patients taking high estrogen and/or progestin products.
(e) Nausea and vomiting. This side effect is most often observed in
patients taking high estrogen products.
(f) Skin reactions. Increased pigmentation can be aggravated by
sunlight. This side effect is more common in individuals who have darker skin. This
type of side effect is observed most often in patients who are taking high estrogen
(g) Libido changes. Oral contraceptives sometimes affect the
individual's sex drive.
(h) Rebound fertility. Rebound fertility involves the increased likelihood
of pregnancy. The cause of this side effect is unknown.