STD Home > Safety Issues With Estrostep Fe
Specific Estrostep Fe Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Estrostep Fe include the following:
- Estrostep Fe is effective at preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. However, it becomes much less effective when it is taken incorrectly. Most cases of accidental pregnancy while taking "the pill" (including Estrostep Fe) are due to incorrect usage. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Estrostep Fe, including how and when to start it and what to do if you miss pills.
- Estrostep Fe can interact with a number of different medications, possibly increasing the risk of unintentional pregnancy (see Estrostep Fe Drug Interactions for more information).
- Like any birth control pill, Estrostep Fe does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV or AIDS. As a result, women are often advised to use condoms in addition to Estrostep Fe in order to prevent the transmission of STDs.
- Combined oral contraceptives, including Estrostep Fe, can cause life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is quite minimal for healthy, young, nonsmoking women. However, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain. Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of these serious Estrostep Fe side effects. This risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35.
- Combined oral contraceptives may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer, although this is an unresolved issue. However, combined oral contraceptives seem to help protect women against ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Oral contraceptives increase the risk of benign (noncancerous) liver tumors. In rare cases, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
- Hormonal contraceptives such as Estrostep Fe can make gallbladder disease worse. Therefore, if you have had a problem with your gallbladder, this medication may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
- Estrostep Fe may increase blood sugar levels, particularly in women with diabetes. Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely in this case. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any sudden vision changes, as this may be a sign of a blood clot in the eyes (a possible side effect of Estrostep Fe and other hormonal contraceptives).
- Hormonal contraceptives, including Estrostep Fe, can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
- Estrostep Fe can change your menstrual bleeding patterns. Some women have breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between periods), while others may not have a period at all. It is normal to have shorter and lighter periods while using Estrostep Fe. However, if you notice any unusual changes in your bleeding patterns, let your healthcare provider know. If you miss a period, you should make sure you are not pregnant.
- The medication can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start Estrostep Fe, especially if you already have high cholesterol.
- Sometimes, hormonal contraceptives can make depression worse. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop new or worsening symptoms of depression while taking Estrostep Fe.
- Occasionally, Estrostep Fe (as well as any other hormonal contraceptive) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
- Estrostep Fe is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Estrostep Fe and Pregnancy).
- Contraceptive hormones, such as the ones in Estrostep Fe, pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Estrostep Fe and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives are not usually recommended for women who are breastfeeding.