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Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo Side Effects

Acne, bloating, and breakthrough bleeding or spotting are some of the common side effects reported with birth control pills, including Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. Side effects, in most cases, either don't require medical attention or can be easily treated. Some reactions to Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo could be serious, however, and should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately, including migraines, depression, or breast lumps.

An Introduction to Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo® (norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol); however, not everyone who uses the contraceptive will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can be treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
Because Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo contains a low dose of hormones, compared to older birth control pills, side effects may, in theory, be less common with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo

In clinical studies for most medications, one group of people is given the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). The side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. However, it is not possible to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies.
Since it is difficult to obtain much information about side effects from studies that do not use a placebo, because there is no way of knowing if any particular problem is actually a side effect of the medication, only vague information is available about Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo side effects. In fact, the side effects listed in the prescribing information for Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo are actually side effects of all birth control pills in general.
Some of these common side effects include but are not limited to:
  • Acne (although birth control pills can also improve acne)
  • Breast tenderness and enlargement
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting between periods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Changes in sex drive (typically a decrease).
Women are often concerned about weight gain due to birth control pills, but recent research suggests that birth control pills probably do not cause weight gain for most women (see Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo and Weight Gain).
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