Levonorgestrel General Information
Levonorgestrel is used by women to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure (such as a broken condom) or unprotected sex. Levonorgestrel is an emergency contraceptive and should not be used as a regular form of birth control. It is a progestin hormone that works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle. It also makes vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg.
Using Levonorgestrel will not stop an existing pregnancy or protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia).
Levonorgestrel may not work well in women over a certain weight (for example, greater than 164 pounds or 74 kilograms). Talk to your doctor for more details and to see if Levonorgestrel is right for you.
Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
How to Use Levonorgestrel
If you are taking the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read all directions on the product package before taking Levonorgestrel. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed Levonorgestrel, take it as directed.
Take 1 tablet by mouth with or without food as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Levonorgestrel works best when it is taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex.
If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Levonorgestrel, contact your doctor to ask if you need to repeat the dose.
After you take Levonorgestrel, the time when your period comes and how much you bleed may change. Tell your doctor right away if your period is more than 7 days late. You may need to take a pregnancy test.
If you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.
Levonorgestrel Possible Side Effects
Nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, dizziness, changes in vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use Levonorgestrel, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using Levonorgestrel do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: severe lower stomach pain (especially 3 to 5 weeks after taking levonorgestrel).
A very serious allergic reaction to Levonorgestrel is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking levonorgestrel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other progestins (such as norethindrone); or if you have any other allergies. Levonorgestrel may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using Levonorgestrel, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: unexplained vaginal bleeding.
Levonorgestrel may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Levonorgestrel must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.
Levonorgestrel passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Levonorgestrel Possible Intercations
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Other medications can affect the removal of levonorgestrel from your body, which may affect how levonorgestrel works. Examples include griseofulvin, modafinil, rifamycins (such as rifampin, rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as barbiturates, carbamazepine, felbamate, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate), HIV drugs (such as nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir), among others.
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