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Basic Instructions for Ortho-Novum and How to Start It

Basic Ortho-Novum Dosage Instructions

No matter what strength of Ortho-Novum you take, start at the beginning of the pack, taking one tablet daily at the same time each day. Each pack will last for 28 days (four weeks). After you finish one pack, immediately start a new one the next day. Do not let any days pass between packs, even if you are still having your period. The first 21 tablets contain the active ingredients. The last seven tablets do not contain any hormones. During this last week, your body gets a little break from the hormones, allowing you to have a period. Sometimes, you may have breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods. If this happens, keep taking Ortho-Novum as usual.

Starting Ortho-Novum for the First Time

There are two different recommended ways to start Ortho-Novum for the first time:
  • Sunday start -- Start Ortho-Novum on the first Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still having your period. Starting on Sunday may decrease the chance that you will have your periods on the weekends, although not all women find this to be the case. You will need to use a backup method of birth control for the first seven days of the first pack.
  • Day 1 start -- Start Ortho-Novum on the first day of your period (within 24 hours of the start of bleeding). You will be protected from pregnancy from the start, and no backup method of birth control is needed. If your period happens to start on a Sunday, treat this as a day 1 start, not a Sunday start.
If you choose a Sunday start, you will start every pack of Ortho-Novum on Sundays. If you choose a day 1 start, you will start each pack on your initial start day (for instance, if you first started Ortho-Novum on a Tuesday, you will start every pack on a Tuesday).
Some healthcare providers may suggest other ways to start the drug, such as starting in the middle of the cycle. Make sure to follow your healthcare provider's instructions in such situations.
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