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Specific Loestrin Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Loestrin include the following:
- When you take the medication correctly, your risk of pregnancy is quite small. However, if you take it incorrectly, your risk of pregnancy increases greatly. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Loestrin, including how and when to start it and what to do if you miss pills.
- Loestrin can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Loestrin). Many of these interactions are severe enough to increase the risk of unintentional pregnancy.
- The medication does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Loestrin.
- Combined oral contraceptives, including Loestrin, increase the risk of life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is quite small 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 Loestrin 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 and controversial 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 Loestrin may make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, this medication may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
- Loestrin may increase blood sugar, 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 Loestrin and other hormonal contraceptives).
- Hormonal contraceptives, including Loestrin, can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
- The medication 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 Loestrin. 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.
- Loestrin can affect your cholesterol. Therefore, your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start the drug, especially if you already have high cholesterol.
- Sometimes, hormonal contraceptives may make depression worse. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop new or worsening depression symptoms while taking Loestrin.
- Occasionally, Loestrin (as well as any other hormonal contraceptive) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
- Loestrin is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Loestrin and Pregnancy).
- Contraceptive hormones, such as the ones in Loestrin, 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 Loestrin and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives are not usually recommended for breastfeeding women.