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Alesse

What are Alesse

Alesse contains a combination of hormones that is used to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). The pills contain a form of estrogen and a form of progesterone, which are both female hormones involved in conception.

Alesse also have other effects that inhibit pregnancy. They cause the cervical mucous to thicken, which makes it harder for sperm to move toward the uterus, and they prevent the attachment of an egg to the uterus.

Alesse is used to prevent pregnancy.

Alesse may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

General medical information about Alesse

Take your pill at the same time every day. Each dose should come no more than 24 hours after the last dose.

Avoid smoking cigarettes while taking Alesse. Smoking greatly increases the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.

Use another form of birth control if you miss several doses (see the package insert) or if you are taking drugs that decrease the effectiveness of Alesse (see the section of this leaflet titled "what other drugs will affect Alesse?").

What you should find out before taking Alesse

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you
- have high blood pressure, angina, or heart disease;
- have had a stroke;
- have a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;
- have breast, uterine, or another hormone-related cancer;
- have liver disease or a history of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) caused by use of birth control in the past;
- have undiagnosed, abnormal vaginal bleeding;
- have migraines;
- have asthma; or
- have seizures or epilepsy.

You may not be able to take Alesse, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Alesse is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that Alesse will cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can have very serious negative effects on a developing baby. Do not take Alesse if you are pregnant or if you think you might be pregnant.

The hormones in Alesse pass into breast milk and may decrease milk production. Do not take Alesse without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should take Alesse

Take Alesse exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take the first pill in a package on the first Sunday after your period begins (unless otherwise directed by your doctor).

Take one pill every day, no more than 24 hours after your last dose. Try to take the pills at a time that you will remember every day--for example just before bed, with a meal, or first thing in the morning.

Taking your pill at night may help to reduce any nausea or headache that you may experience because of the hormones.

If you are on a 28-day cycle, take one pill every day. When the pack runs out, throw it away. Begin a new pack the following day. The 28-day cycle contains seven pills that are either placebos (with no active ingredients) or iron supplements. These are "reminder" pills to keep you on your regular cycle. They are taken while you are menstruating.

If you are on a 21-day cycle, take one pill every day for 21 days, then do not take any pills for 7 days. You should have your period during the 7 days with no pills. Resume your pills on the 8th day with a new package.

Follow your doctor's instructions about using a second form of birth control when you first start taking Alesse, when you are taking antibiotics, or if you miss a pill. If you are unsure what to do in any of these cases, talk to your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor about how to ensure that you will not become pregnant.

Store Alesse at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

Missing a pill increases the risk of becoming pregnant.

Follow the exact directions on your package information insert concerning missed doses. If you do not have a package information insert, call your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse to find out what to do.

In general:

If you miss one dose, take it as soon as you remember or take two pills at the time of your next regularly scheduled dose. There is little likelihood that ovulation will occur. You may, however, want to use a second method of birth control such as a condom or a spermicidal cream, jelly, or foam for at least seven consecutive days following the missed tablet to ensure protection from pregnancy.

If you miss two tablets in a row, take the two missed tablets as soon as you remember or with your next regularly scheduled dose (three total). Or, you may take two tablets each for the next two regularly scheduled doses (one missed tablet plus one regularly scheduled tablet for 2 days in a row). Chances are much greater that you may ovulate so you must use another form of birth control for at least 7 days following the missed tablets. It is even better to use a second method of birth control until your next period.

If you miss three tablets in a row, throw away the package and start a new package on the 7th day after the last day you took a pill. Use another method of birth control until you have taken a pill for 7 days in a row. Your period should occur during the 7 days without pills. If it doesn't, have a pregnancy test before beginning a new package of pills.

Read all of the information in your package information insert. It may have slightly different instructions in the case of missed pills. Talk to your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor if you have any questions.

What happens if you overdose:

Death is not likely to occur from an overdose of Alesse. Consult a doctor, an emergency room, or a poison control center for advice.

Symptoms of an overdose include nausea, vomiting, and menstrual bleeding.

Avoid while taking Alesse

Avoid smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot formation.

Alesse do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases--including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.

Possible side effects of Alesse

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Alesse and seek emergency medical attention:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- a blood clot in the lung (shortness of breath or pain in the chest);
- a blood clot in an arm or leg (pain, redness, swelling, or numbness of an arm or leg);
- high blood pressure (severe headache, flushing, blurred vision); or
- liver damage (yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, unusual bleeding or bruising, severe fatigue).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Alesse and talk to your doctor if you experience
- headache or dizziness;
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
- breakthrough bleeding; or
- breast tenderness.

These side effects may disappear or be less noticeable after 3 to 6 months of birth control use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you find any side effect very bothersome.

The side effects listed below generally occur very rarely and are not considered serious. If you experience any of the following, talk to your doctor:
- depression,
- changes in weight or appetite,
- vaginal yeast infection,
- changes in your menstrual cycle,
- oily skin or acne,
- changes in your sex drive,
- lethargy or fatigue,
- bloating,
- changes in your skin color, or
- changes in your blood sugar.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Alesse

Some drugs may decrease the effectiveness of Alesse, which may result in pregnancy. Use a second form of birth control if you are taking
- a penicillin antibiotic such as amoxicillin (Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox, Wymox, Utimox, A-Cillin, Larotid, Augmentin, others), ampicillin (Principen, Omnipen, Penamp, Polycillin, Amplin, Amcill, Totacillin, others), bacampicillin (Spectrobid), carbenicillin (Geocillin), cloxacillin (Cloxapen, Tegopen), dicloxacillin (Dynapen, Dycill, Pathocil), nafcillin (Nafcil, Nallpen, Unipen), oxacillin (Bactocill, Prostphlin), or penicillin (Veetids, Pen Vee K, Bicillin, Permapen, others);
- a tetracycline antibiotic such as demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Doryx, Doxy, Vibramycin, Vibra-Tabs, others), minocycline (Minocin), or tetracycline (Sumycin, Teracyn, Achromycin, Robitet, Panmycin, others);
- a barbiturate such as amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), mephobarbital (Mebaral), secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);
- rifampin (Rifadin);
- phenytoin (Dilantin);
- carbamazepine (Tegretol); or
- griseofulvin (Grisactin, Grifulvin V, Fulvicin PG).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Alesse. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

All prescription drugs:

A
abilify accupril accutane acetaminophen aciphex actifed actonel actos acyclovir adalat adderall adipex advair advil albuterol alesse aleve allegra allopurinol amaryl ambien amiodarone amitriptyline amoxicillin amoxil amphetamine anacin aprazolam aricept asacol aspirin atenolol ativan atorvastatin atrovent augmentin avandia avapro avastin avelox azmacort
B
baclofen
bactrim bactroban baycol benadryl bextra biaxin boniva bontril buspar buspirone
C
caduet campral camptosar capoten captopril cardizem cardura carisoprodol casodex catapress cefzil celebrex celexa cellcept cephalexin cialis cipro ciprodex clarinex claritin climara clindamycin clonazepam clonidine codeine codeprex combivent combivir concerta copaxone coreg coricidin cotrim coumadin cozaar crestor cubicin cyclobenzaprine cymbalta
D
darvocet demerol depakote desogen detrol dextromethorphan diazepam diclofenac didrex diflucan digoxin dilantin diltiazem dimetapp diovan diprivan ditropan doxazosin doxycycline drixoral duragesic dyazide
E
effexor elavil elocon eloxatin emend enalapril enbrel endocet engerix-b entex epogen epzicom erbitux ertaczo ery-tab erythromycin estradiol evista 
F
fabrazyme famotidine fazaclo fenofibrate fioricet fiorinal flexeril flomax flonase flovent fluoxetine fosamax fosrenol furosemide  
G
gabapentin gamimune gemfibrozil gemzar glipizide glucophage glucotrol glucovance glyburide glyburide guaifenesin guaifenex 
H
herceptin humalog humira hydroxyzine hyzaar  
I
ibuprofen imdur imitrex imodium inderal insulin integrilin iressa 
K
kaletra keflex kenalog keppra ketek klonopin kytril  
L
lamictal lamisil lanoxin lantus lasix lescol levaquin levitra levothyroxine levoxyl lexapro lidoderm lipitor lisinopril lithium lorazepam lortab lotensin lotrel lotrisone lovenox lupron luveris  
M
macrobid magnevist meclizine medroxyprogesterone meridia metformin methadone methamphetamine methotrexate methylphenidate methylprednisolone metoclopramide metoprolol metronidazole miacalcin minocycline mobic monopril morphine motrin myfortic  
N
naproxen nasacort nasonex natrecor neulasta neupogen neurontin nexium nifedipine nitrofurantoin norco nortriptyline norvasc  
O
omeprazole omnicef orthovisc oxybutynin oxycodone oxycontin oxytrol  
P
paraplatin patanol paxil pegasys penicillin pepcid percocet percodan percogesic phendimetrazine phenergan phentermine phenytoin plavix plendil potassium pravachol prednisone premarin prempro prevacid prilosec prinivil procrit promethazine propecia propofol propoxyphene propranolol protonix proventil provigil prozac pseudoephedrine pulmicort  
R
ranitidine rebetol reglan relafen relpax remeron remicade renagel renova rhinocort riomet risperdal risperidone ritalin rituxan rocephin rogaine roxicet  
S
sanctura seasonale sensipar serevent seroquel serzone singulair skelaxin soma somavert sonata spiriva spironolactone strattera striant sustiva synagis synthroid 
T
tamoxifen tavist taxol taxotere tegretol temazepam tenormin tenuate tequin terazosin tetracycline tiazac tindamax titralac tobradex topamax toprol tramadol trazodone triamcinolone triaminic triamterene tricor trileptal trimox triphasil trizivir truvada tylenol 
U
ultane ultracet ultram uroxatral
V
valium valtrex vaniqa vasotec velcade verapamil viagra vicodin vicoprofen vidaza viracept viread vytorin  
W
warfarin wellbutrin  
X
xalatan xanax xenical xifaxan xolair xopenex xyrem  
Y
yasmin 
Z
zanaflex zantac zavesca zelnorm zemplar zerit zestoretic zestril zetia ziac zithromax zocor zofran zoladex zoloft zometa zorbtive zosyn zovirax zyrtec zyvox