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About Ortho Tri-cyclen®

Picture of Ortho Tri-cyclen

This page will save you time in researching Ortho Tri-cyclen. We search the United States Food and Drug Administration, Physician's Desk Reference, Universities around the world and hundreds of Internet sites to give you this report in easy to understand plain English.

What is Ortho Tri-cyclen?

Ortho Tri-cyclen® is clinically proven, FDA approved drug. It is an estrogen and progestin combination used to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to regulate the menstrual cycle, treat symptoms of menopause, and other conditions such as acne and pain relief. In fact, it is one of the few birth control pills approved in the United States for the improvement of acne to clear up your skin.

Reported Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, bleeding between menstrual periods, breast tenderness, and weight change. These may go away during treatment. Other common side effects include increased sensitivity to sunlight or ultraviolet light, breast enlargement, mood changes, anxiety, depression, and mild stomach upset. This birth control pill may also cause dark skin patches on your face that the sun may make darker. However, almost 9 out of 10 women see improvements in skin condition. Most women do not experience side effects.

If you miss a dose

Take it as soon as you realize you've missed one, and then take your next dose at the regular time. This may mean taking 2 doses on the same day. If you miss more than 1 dose, read the patient information that came in the package and USE ANOTHER KIND OF BIRTH CONTROL until your next period begins or for 7 days.

Symptoms of overdose

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, restlessness, tremor, and/or rapid breathing.

Storing Ortho Tri-cyclen

Room temperature, away from heat, light and children.

Generic Names

Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol

When is it safe for sex?

The pill is effective as soon as you start taking it. Since the pill stops ovulation, theoretically, you are safe from the first day. The problem is that your body may be out of synch when you start taking it. That means it's possible you were about to ovulate just when you started taking the pill. It would be too late for the pill to stop that ovulation. Because of that possibility, companies often recommend a back up contraceptive for the first week or even two weeks.


Take them with food to lessen any stomach upset. If you experience persistent or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding, a missed menstrual period, dizziness or fainting, headache, swelling of fingers or ankles, unusual bruising or difficulty wearing contact lenses, check with your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: sharp or crushing chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, sudden severe headache or leg pain, yellow skin or eyes, severe stomach pain, changes in vision, or numbness of an arm or leg.

For women considering a new partner: Even if you are on the pill, you should still use condoms with spermicide to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of or other medical condition such as one of the following:

Blood clots
Cerebrovascular disease
Heart condition
Liver condition
Pulmonary embolism
You are Breast-feeding - drug is excreted in the milk
You are having Dental treatments
Tell your dentist that you are using this medicine
You have diarrhea
You have vomiting
You wear contact lenses

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

HIV protease inhibitors
Medicine for seizures
Smoking cigarettes

A woman's body needs a small amount of estrogen to heal the open blood vessels that result from normal menstruation. If you take birth control pills that have progestin, it works opposite the estrogen and does not allow the blood vessels to heal, so bleeding may result. Smoking also lowers the body's estrogen levels. Raising estrogen levels will likely stop the continuous bleeding or spotting. Some doctors give estrogen supplements between active pills or prescribe pills with higher levels of estrogen. If those don't work, ask your doctor about an injectable contraceptive called Lunelle®.

Changes in Sex Drive

Several drugs can cause problems with your sex life with side effects. Oral and injectable contraceptives like monophasic Lo/Ovral, Ortho-Cyclen produce steady doses of progestin. This can reduce your testosterone production. The drug Depo-Provera is also likely to present problem side effects like reduced libido, reduced vaginal lubrication and reduced intensity of orgasm.

Solution: Use a triphasic like Ortho-Tri-Cyclen. It can provide levels of progestin that follow a more natural cycle.

Discontinuing the pill

One of the most common questions: "I am 28 and want to start a family. I'm on the pill so how long will it take to get out of my system?"

Answer: The combined oral contraceptive pill has left your body 48 hours after you have taken your last pill. (This is why you get a withdrawal bleed in your pill-free week).

Taking the pill has been shown to have no adverse effect on your fertility. Statistically, it takes a woman of your age, on average 4 to 6 months to get pregnant if you have used no contraception previously, and 5 to 7 months to get pregnant if you have used the pill.

Before you stop the pill, it is worth considering having blood taken for a rubella titre. This test checks if you are immune to rubella (or German measles). Contracting rubella when you are pregnant can have serious health consequences for your baby so it is advised to have a rubella vaccination if it is found that you are not immune.

If you needed a rubella vaccination it would be recommended to keep taking the pill for another two months, as it is advised that women do not become pregnant for two months following a rubella vaccination.

A diet rich in folic acid is recommended for at least one month before, and three months after conception. This has been found in studies to prevent up to 70% of neural tube defects.

Drug Interactions

Certain drugs may interact with this medication to make it less effective in preventing pregnancy or cause an increase in breakthrough bleeding. Such drugs include
  • bosentan (Tracleer)
  • St. John's wort
  • certain antibiotics (Rifampin and possibly others)
  • HIV or AIDS medications
  • phenobarbital (Solfoton) and other barbiturates
  • anticonvulsants (seizure medication) such as carbamazepine, phenytoin and others
Other drugs may also interact with Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

Common Misspellings for Ortho Tri-Cyclen

Ortho Tri-Cyclen is often misspelled, as many people hear the word verbally, write it down and spell it incorrectly. Here are a few of the most common misspellings for Ortho Tri-Cyclen: orthocyclen, ortho tri cyclen, ortho trycyclen, ortho triciclen, and ortho orthonovum tricyclen.

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Most recent post: May 31, 2016

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright © 2002-2016 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on birth control and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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