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Ortho-Cyclen is a prescription oral contraceptive that contains two different types of hormones. The estrogen and progestin in the birth control pill prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation and altering the lining of the uterus and cervical mucus. Ortho-Cyclen comes in a pack of 28 tablets; you must take one tablet daily, at the same time each day. Potential side effects include nausea, headache, and spotting.

What Is Ortho-Cyclen?

Ortho-Cyclen® (norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill (technically known as an oral contraceptive). There are a few other birth control pills that are equivalent to Ortho-Cyclen, including:
  • Estarylla™ (made by Laboratorios Leon Farma S.A., for Sandoz, Inc.)
  • Mono-Linyah™ (made by Novast Laboratories) 
  • MonoNessa® (made by Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)
  • Previfem® (made by Qualitest Pharmaceuticals)  
  • Sprintec® (made by Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc.).
(Click Ortho-Cyclen Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Ortho-Cyclen?

Ortho-Cyclen is manufactured by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. Generic versions of Ortho-Cyclen are made by various manufacturers (see Generic Ortho-Cyclen for more information).

How Does It Work?

Ortho-Cyclen is a combined oral contraceptive. This means that it is a birth control pill that contains two different types of hormones, an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norgestimate). Primarily, the hormones in Ortho-Cyclen prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, Ortho-Cyclen also prevents pregnancy in two other, less important ways. It 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. Lastly, it alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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