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Quartette is a brand-name oral contraceptive that is available by prescription. It is one of the most common types of birth control pills, containing both an estrogen and a progestin. As an extended-cycle contraceptive, each pack contains 91 pills, meaning you will only have a period once every three months. These pills must be taken in order. Potential side effects include headaches, acne, and nausea.


What Is Quartette?

Quartette™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive (birth control pill). It is an "extended-cycle" oral contraceptive, which means it provides more time between menstrual periods. With Quartette, you will get your period once every three months (four times a year). This product is uniquely designed with varying dosages of ethinyl estradiol intended to reduce the chance of breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between periods).
(Click Quartette Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Quartette is made by Teva Women's Health, Inc.

How Does Quartette Work?

Quartette is a combined oral contraceptive, a birth control pill that contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). This contraceptive primarily prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Quartette alters 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.
There is no reason women need to have a monthly period while taking birth control pills. In fact, the "period" you experience while taking birth control pills isn't really a period at all. Because ovulation does not occur, the body does not prepare for a possible pregnancy by building up the lining of the uterus, so there is no need to shed the lining as with a regular period. Instead, the "period" that occurs due to birth control pills is actually caused by a withdrawal of the hormones in the pills, which causes bleeding.
Quartette is uniquely designed to have four different doses of ethinyl estradiol during the three-month pack. It starts at 0.02 mg per day for the first 42 days, increases to 0.025 mg per day for the next 21 days, increases further to 0.03 mg per day for the next 21 days, and then drops to 0.01 mg per day for the final seven days. It is thought that these changing estrogen doses help to reduce the chance of bleeding and spotting between periods.
The levonorgestrel dosage does not change for the entire pack, except for the last seven pills, which have no levonorgestrel at all. It is this absence of levonorgestrel for the last seven pills that causes withdrawal bleeding (a "period") to occur.
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Quartette Birth Control Information

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