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About Ortho Tri-cyclen®

If you've used Ortho Tri-cyclen®, please help others by adding your feedback. What would you tell your best friend about this product? Please remember that we do not give medical advice. That is for your local health care provider, who is familiar with your medical history.

Subj: Worst depression of my entire life
Date: 4/20/2006
I am at my wit's end with Ortho Lo. I have been on it about a year and a half; prior to that I had not taken BCPs in about 8 years (and that was a triphasic-type that made me psychotic). Over the past 18 months, I have increasingly experienced the worst depression of my entire life. It began as a dip that would straddle weeks two and three, and by now is almost constant, which I suspect has to do with behavior and thought patterns I've acquired as a result of this horrible ordeal. It remains at its most unmanageable from mid-week 2 to mid-week 3 (e.g., sense of utter worthlessness, crying, not being able to get out of bed, not being able to work, unreasonable reactions, hypersensitivity, and so on). I am beginning counseling, but the changes in me have been so drastic and atypical that I am pretty sure it is the pill.

I have slowly but steadily gained weight, about 10 pounds, and I have experienced mild to moderate (but noticeable to me) hair loss. My skin has improved, though I have gotten some of the brown patches at the temples.

The NP at Planned Parenthood offered me another triphasic about 6 months ago. I took it for one month and it was excruciating. I was not only depressed but also completely erratic every day, and I bled all month. I had her switch me back to the Ortho...better the devil you know, as they say...

At any rate, it has been comforting to read here that others have struggled with depression on the Ortho. My question for these reviewers is: have you found anything else??? If this is the lowest, least fluctuating dose of hormones, what else is there? Condoms are not our preference at our age--though they may prove to be our only option--so any other suggestions are welcome. Because I go to a very busy, understaffed Planned Parenthood, I find that I have to research and advocate for myself. Thanks,

AskDocWeb: It sounds like your body is very sensitive and will likely react to any type of birth control pill. You might want to talk to your doctor about alternatives like an IUD or a diaphragm.

Subj: Bladder infections from Tr-Cyclen
Date: 4/21/2006
I was on Alesse and had no problems with it, other then it made my period last 2 weeks instead of 1. So I switched to Tr-Cyclen. I was on it for 10 months and I received 10 bladder infections. That's once a month, and they are not fun!!! I did everything the doctors were telling me to do to avoid the infections, but nothing worked. I finally switched back to Alesse and immediately all my bladder infections were gone. I talked to my doctor and he said that it IS one of the side effects of Tri-cyclen. . . they just don't list it as one.

Subj: Irregular heartbeats
Date: 4/21/2006
I have been taking Ortho Tri-cylen for about a month and a half. I recently stopped because of irregular heartbeats. I have always had irregular heart beats/flutters, but they would occur about three times per month. Towards the end of my first pack of Ortho Tri-cyclen, my heart started beating irregularly about eight times per day. I have stopped taking it and would not recommend this method.

Subj: Heart palpitation
Date: 4/22/2006
I've been on ortho tri-cylen for about 3 weeks. I noticed some heart palpitation every other day. Is this normal?

AskDocWeb: No this isn't normal at all, please discuss this with your doctor. You may need to change your birth control pill.

Subj: Ortho Tri-cyclen lo for acne?
Date: 4/22/2006
Does anyone know if Ortho Tri-cyclen lo can be helpful for acne? I've been told that people have taken it for acne, but that is no the indicated use...but does it help?

AskDocWeb: The feedback on Ortho Tri-cyclen lo indicates that in most cases it isn't helpful for acne.

Subj: Skipping or postponing a period
Date: 4/23/2006
I've taken Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo for about 2 and a half years, the only "problem" I've noticed is light periods, not really a problem. I'm wondering what the best way to skip or postpone one period would be (doubling each week- i.e., take 2 weeks ones, then two weeks twos, etc, or skipping a week between packs)? Since it's triphasic and a low hormone dose, it seems like starting pack 2 right after pack 1 will only lead to spotting and break through bleeding. Thanks!

AskDocWeb: You are correct and doing that is not recommended.

Subj: Painful cramps
Date: 4/23/2006
I just started ortho lo. I'm on my second pack. Last month I started spotting in the third week with cramping. Then started my menses with the most painful cramps I've ever had. I couldn't do anything for a week straight. Continued to spot with cramping for another 3 days after. I was fine a couple days into the new pack, felt pretty normal. But it's starting again. Is normal to spot and have cramps? Do I need to return to my doctor or wait another month? The cramps are horrible and I'm having them like 12 to 14 days straight. Thanks.

AskDocWeb: Your doctor will tell you to wait another month to see if the symptoms go away, if they don't then talk about alternatives.

Subj: Acne
Date: 4/23/2006
I've been on tri-sprintec for about a month. It has cleared up acne in my face. So far no negative side effects.

Subj: About to loose it
Date: 4/23/2006
I'm on my second pack of Ortho Tri-Cyclen LO and I'm about to loose my mind. I'm still not sure that these pills caused me to have this severe depression, but the feeling is definitely unbearable! I'm taking some valerian pills to stabilize my mood, but I don't think its working too well. Please, tell me if the signs of severe depression and frequent anxiety are common. I can't wait until the last pill of that pack...I feel so worthless and life seems to loose its colors...Please, help me!

AskDocWeb: Please visit with or call your doctors office immediately. You shouldn't have to be going through this mess just over a birth control pill. There are many others available that will work better for you. Also note that there are some health concerns with using valerian.

Subj: Symptoms of the pill?
Date: 4/24/2006
I've been on Ortho-tri cyclen for about 5 years, I used to suffer extreme breast and gum tenderness and bloating but now it seems like I just have to pee like crazy during the second phase of pills- is this normal? I seriously have to go to the bathroom about every half hour. I know I'm not pregnant. I also have some blurry vision, and hair loss- I never knew these symptoms were from the pill.

AskDocWeb: These are not normal symptoms and you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. You wouldn't want to suffer with any permanent damage to your body over birth control pills.

Subj: Trying to conceive
Date: 4/24/2006
Just wanting to know if taking birth control pills (orthro tri cyclen) for long period of time has any effect on fertility? My boyfriend (now husband) and I of 8 years have been trying to conceive. I stopped my bc pills our 3rd year of dating and we started the 4th year(I was 17 going on 18), trying to conceive but up until now, 4 years of trying(I'm 22)nothing has happened. Is it due to me being on BC pills since I was 14? I have read that when ready for pregnancy it should occur after I stop taking the pills. And my cycles are usually regular, and I track my ovulation, but could taking the pills for so long have ceased the release of my eggs permanently?

AskDocWeb: It's very unlikely that it would completely stop your body from ovulating. Since you stated that your periods are usually regular, there must be another problem here. Have a consultation with your gyn and see what she suggests. The problem could be with your husband's sperm count. If there is any doubt about your fertility, you can get a female fertility test for yourself and a sperm count test for your husband.

Subj: Want to skip a period
Date: 4/24/2006
I am going on my honeymoon and want to skip my period-can I do this by skipping the placebo pills and starting a new pack right away? I'm leaving soon!

AskDocWeb: You may find that the cost of doing that is unacceptable. You could have a period that lasts for a couple of weeks with severe cramping or breakthrough bleeding - not recommended.

Subj: Hyperventilation, numbness and tingling
Date: 4/26/2006
Hi, I'm writing in response to the 1/18/2005 question about numbness and tingling due to hyperventilation. I've suffered with chronic hyperventilation with no apparent cause for about three years. Breathing exercises do not help. This is not surprising, given that many people in the medical community believe that undiagnosed metabolic and respiratory disorders frequently cause hyperventilation as well as the generalized anxiety and panic attacks that often accompany it. These disorders obviously cannot be solved through breathing exercises, which essentially amount to a band-aid over a deeper underlying cause. More importantly, it has been documented that the hormones progesterone and estrogen - found in birth control pills such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen - often increase the rate and depth of respiration, as exemplified by their role in hyperventilation and respiratory alkalosis in pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone have thus proven somewhat valuable in the treatment of asthma, but can aggravate or even cause hyperventilation.

Please take symptoms of hyperventilation seriously and avoid writing it off as a harmless response to (ostensibly) controllable anxiety. Over time, it can lead to more serious health problems. What's more, anxiety itself is often not so simple; it invariably has complex psychological and physiological origins that need to be investigated. Most of all, I urge you to seriously consider the possible role of hormonal contraceptives like Ortho Tri-Cyclen in cases of chronic hyperventilation in women.

Subj: Switched to ortho lo
Date: 4/26/2006
I have been on orthotricyclen for years, then my doctor had told me to switch to ortho lo. About 6 months ago I was missing days after days which lead to this dark brown mucus leaking out of me. At first I wasn't aware of what this was. Then my doctor told me it was because I was missing days. Now about 7 months later I had missed 1 day here and there but not to that extent and never had that problem before. Just this Saturday I had missed 1 day and now I am getting that black/brown mucus leaking out of me again. Is this normal? Does anyone else get this off of the ortho low? Now it won't go away until my next period which is next week. I just wanted to know if this was something I should be worried about or not. I did call my doctor and she did say it was normal but I don't understand how it could be. Has anyone had this problem ever?

AskDocWeb: Yes, others have experience the same thing. Don't worry, this is normal and it can happen with any type of birth control, not just Ortho Lo.

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