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Generic name: ethinyl estradiol and desogestrel [EH-thih-nill-ess-tra-DYE-ole-and-des-oh-JESS-trel]

Brand names: Apri, Azurette, Caziant, Cyred, Cyred EQ,… Show all 18 brands
Drug class: contraceptives

What is Viorele?

Viorele contains a combination of female hormones that prevents ovulation. Viorele can also cause changes to your cervical mucus and uterine lining and make it more difficult for sperm and fertilized eggs to reach the uterus.

Viorele can be used to prevent pregnancy. This medicine is available in many different brands. This leaflet does not list all brands.This medication guide does not list all possible uses for Viorele.

Side effects of Birth control pills

If you experience any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention: difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat.

Birth control pills can cause serious side effects. Call your doctor immediately if:

  • Signs of a Stroke: sudden numbness, weakness, severe headache, slurred or shaky speech, or problems with vision and balance.
  • Signs of a blood clot in the lungs: chest pain, sudden cough and shortness of breath; dizziness. Coughing blood.
  • Signs of a deep blood clot—pain, swelling, or warmth in a leg;
  • Heart attack symptoms: chest pain or pressure, spreading pain to your jaw and shoulders, nausea, or sweating.
  • Liver problems: swelling around the midsection of your body; upper right stomach pain; lack of appetite; dark coloured urine; clay-coloured stool; jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes);
  • Increased blood pressure—a severe headache, blurred or distorted vision, or pounding in the neck, ears, or head;
  • Depression: mood changes, low self-esteem, lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, sleep disturbances, thoughts of harming yourself
  • A breast lump or swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or legs
  • Changes in the pattern of migraine headaches or their severity

Viorele can cause the following side effects:

  • Weight gain, nausea (vomiting), breast tenderness, or breakthrough bleeding
  • Acne is a darkening of the facial skin.
  • Contact lenses are causing problems.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. The FDA can be contacted at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report side effects.


Avoid taking birth control pills while pregnant or after having a baby.

Birth control pills should not be used if: you suffer from heart disease, circulation problems, or undiagnosed vaginal bleeds; you are taking certain hepatitis C medications; you plan to have major surgery; you smoke; and you're over 35 years old. You shouldn't use them if: you have had a stroke or blood clots caused by pregnancy, birth control pills or jaundice, or if cancer has ever affected your breast, uterus, or vagina.

Before you take this drug

Birth-control pills may increase your risk for blood clots or stroke. If you suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be at greater risk. The risk of stroke and blood clots is greatest during the first year you take birth control pills. You are at high risk when you start taking birth control pills again after a break of 4 weeks or more.

Smoking increases your risk of a stroke or heart attack due to birth control pills. This is especially true if you're older than 35.

Do not use it if you are pregnant. Stop Viorele immediately and inform your doctor if you are pregnant or if two menstrual cycles are missed in a row. Wait at least four weeks after giving birth if you've just had a child.

If you are pregnant, or if:

  • Untreated or uncontrolled hypertension, heart disease or coronary heart disease (chest discomfort, history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clot), or an increased risk for blood clots because of a heart condition or hereditary blood disorder
  • A history of cancers of the breast, uterus, cervix, or vagina
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding not checked by a physician;
  • Liver disease or liver cancer, if you take any hepatitis C medication containing ombitasvir, paritaprevir, or ritonavir with or without dasabuvir, or if you have a history of jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills;
  • Severe migraine headaches with aura, numbness, weakness, or changes in vision, especially if older than 35 or if smoking and over 35,

Tell your doctor about any of the following:

  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, varicose veins, if you have a tendency to have blood clots, high cholesterol, or triglycerides, or are overweight.
  • Gallbladder disease, depression, migraine headaches, and diabetes
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Irregular menstrual cycle, fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, or nodules on a mammogram.

Ask your doctor if you can safely breastfeed while taking this medication.

How to take birth-control pills?

Read all instructions or guides that come with your medication and follow all directions. Follow the directions on the label.

Your first pill will be taken on the day your period starts or the first Sunday following the start of your cycle. When you start taking this medication, you may need to use a backup birth control method, such as a condom or spermicide. You should follow your doctor's advice.

One pill per day is recommended, but no more than one every 24 hours. Start a new package the next day when the pills are finished. If you don't take one pill every day, you may become pregnant. Refill your prescription before you run out.Some birth control packages contain seven "reminder pills" to help you maintain your regular cycle. Usually, your period will begin when you start taking these reminder pills.

You could have been bleeding through the skin. If it persists or becomes very heavy, tell your doctor.If you have severe nausea or diarrhea, use backup birth control.You should tell any doctor or surgeon that treats you that you use birth control pills.You will need to see your doctor regularly if you are taking birth control pills.Store away from heat and moisture at room temperature.

What happens if I miss the dose?

Read all the instructions or guides that come with your medication. You are more likely to become pregnant if you miss a pill.Take two pills the next day if you forget to take one. Take one pill a day for the remainder of the pack.If you missed two active pills consecutively in Week 1 or Week 2, take two pills a day for two consecutive days. Take one pill a day for the remainder of the package. After missing a pill, use a backup birth control method for at least seven days.

If you missed two active pills consecutively in Week 3, you can throw the remaining pack out and start another pack on the same day if you started Day 1. If you started on Sunday, continue taking one pill each day until Sunday. On Sunday, discard the remainder of the package and begin a new one.

If you missed 3 active pills consecutively in Week 1, 2, or 3, you can throw the rest out and start over with a new package on the same date if you started Day 1. If you started on Sunday, continue taking one pill each day until Sunday. On Sunday, discard the remainder of the package and begin a new one.You may not get a period if you miss more than two pills. Call your doctor if you have missed two periods in a row. You might be pregnant.If you forget to take a pill reminder, just throw it out and continue taking one pill reminder per day until your pack is empty.

What happens if I overdose?

Call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 or seek emergency medical care. Overdose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding.

What should be avoided?

Do not smoke while taking birth control pills, especially if you're older than 35.Birth control pills do not stop the spread of your disease. Share razors and toothbrushes. Ask your doctor about how to prevent HIV from being transmitted during sex.

Interaction with other drug

Tell your doctor about your other medications, including:

  • Phenylbutazone;
  • Griseofulvin;
  • Bosentan;
  • Rifampin;
  • John's Wort;
  • Glecaprevir/pibrentasvir;
  • Anticonvulsants are antiepileptics such as phenobarbital (phenytoin), carbamazepine (oxcarbazepine), lamotrigine (topiramate), or felbamate.

This list is incomplete. Viorele may be affected by other drugs, such as vitamins and herbs. This list does not include all possible drug interactions.



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