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How Does This Contraceptive Work?

Gianvi is a combination oral contraceptive that contains an estrogen and a progestin. The drug primarily prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
 
However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Gianvi alters the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. It also alters the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
 
Gianvi is different from traditional birth control pills in two important ways. First, the progestin that it uses (drospirenone) is closely related to spironolactone, a medication used as a diuretic ("water pill"). Drospirenone has anti-androgenic activity, which means that it works against testosterone and other "male" hormones. All women have a small amount of these hormones, which can cause acne and other problems. Also, drospirenone may increase the level of potassium in your blood, which can be a problem for some women.
 
Second, Gianvi contains 24 active pills and 4 inactive pills (these do not contain any active ingredients). In comparison, traditional birth control pills have 21 active pills and 7 inactive pills. Having fewer inactive pills seems to decrease some of the bothersome symptoms that occur just before and during your period.
 

Effects of Gianvi

The brand-name version of Gianvi (Yaz) was shown to be an effective birth control method in a large clinical trial. In this study, for every 100 women who used the drug for a year, 1 or 2 became pregnant.
 
This is highly effective, compared to many other methods of contraception. For instance, up to 14 percent of women using condoms for a year will become pregnant. Studies have also shown that Yaz is effective for treating the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and for treating acne.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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