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Ogestrel is a combined oral contraceptive that is prescribed for women who want to prevent pregnancy. It does this by stopping ovulation, as well as by altering the cervical mucus and uterine lining. Ogestrel comes in tablet form and is taken once daily, at the same time each day. Potential side effects include nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness.

What Is Ogestrel?

Ogestrel® (norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. It contains a high dose of estrogen, compared to most other birth control pills that are currently available.
 
(Click Ogestrel Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Ogestrel?

Ogestrel is made by Watson Pharmaceuticals. Technically, it is a generic version of Ovral®, a birth control pill that is no longer available (see Generic Ogestrel for more information).
 

How Does Ogestrel Work?

Ogestrel is a "combined" oral contraceptive, which means that it contains two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norgestrel). Combined oral contraceptives are the most common type of birth control pill used today. Generally, combined oral contraceptives are more effective than progestin-only birth control pills.
 
The hormones in Ogestrel prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Ogestrel changes 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.
 
Ogestrel contains more estrogen than most other birth control pills that are currently available. This may increase the risk of dangerous side effects, such as blood clots and strokes, since estrogen is responsible for these problems. You should only take the drug if your healthcare provider thinks that it is the best option for your situation. For instance, high-estrogen birth control pills may be useful for women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding or heavy bleeding between periods while on regular birth control pills.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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