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Loestrin Birth Control Pills

Loestrin Birth Control Pills


Table Of Contents

What is Loestrin Birth Control

Loestrin birth control is a contraceptive pill that women take to prevent getting pregnant. It is an estrogen and progestin combination drug which has female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary).

Loestrin also increases the thickness of vaginal fluid to help prevent fertilization (the sperm reaching an egg). In addition, birth control pills also change the lining of the uterus to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. A fertilized egg passes out of the body if it is unable to attach to the lining of the uterus.

Loestrin birth control might also be used for functions not listed in this medication guide.

Other Names for Loestrin: Ethinyl Estradiol/ Norethindrone (Loestrin generic), Loestrin 24, Loestrin Fe, Lo Loestrin Fe

Important information

Consult with a doctor before taking birth control pills, especially if you have recently had a baby, are pregnant, or are planning to have a baby.

You must not take Loestrin if you are 35+ years old or smoke. Consult with your doctor for alternative solutions.

Do not take birth control pills, including Loestrin, if any of these are a concern:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, a blood clotting disorder, circulation issues, diabetic issues with your eyes or kidneys, unusual vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, acute migraine headaches, history of breast or uterine cancer, jaundice due to birth control pills,  heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.

Taking birth control pills, especially while smoking, can raise your risk of: heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.

Taking Loestrin pills does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

What to know before taking Loestrin birth control pills

Taking birth control pills can raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots. You’re more at risk if you smoke or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. As mentioned above, consult your doctor before taking Loestrin birth control pills.

You should not take birth control pills if you:

  • are 35+ years old
  • smoke
  • are pregnant (or might be pregnant)
  • recently had a baby

If any of the above are true, speak to your doctor before taking birth control pills.

You should also not take birth control pills if you have any of the following:

  • gallbladder disease
  • uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure
  • circulation problems or blood-clotting disorder
  • diabetes
  • liver cancer or liver disease
  • a history of abnormal mammogram, lumps, fibrocystic breast disease or nodules
  • problems with kidneys, eyes or circulation caused by diabetes
  • severe migraine headaches
  • heart disease

Birth control pills can also be passed through breast milk, and slow down the production of breast milk, so
do not use birth control while breast feeding a baby.

If you’ll be on bed rest or require medical tests or surgery, you may have to discontinue using the pills for a brief time. The Surgeon or any Physician who treats you should be made aware that you’re using birth control pills.

Please note that the above is not a complete list of reasons to avoid taking birth control.
Consult your physician or doctor for medical advice before taking any form of birth control.

How to take Loestrin pills

Before taking any medication, follow the directions from your physician and on the prescription label.

You may have to use backup birth control when you begin taking this pill.

Talk to your physician about which day is best for you to start taking Loestrin pills. It is important to take it at the same time every day (24 hours apart).

Take the first Loestrin tablet in the pack on the first Sunday following the beginning of your menstrual period or on the first day of your period. Pick a time that you are able to take the pill consistently every day and that you will easily remember (for example: 8pm after dinner each day). Take one pill each day until the pack is empty. Then start a new pack the very next day so that no days pass without taking a pill.

Loestrin 24 comes with: 24 blue pills, 2 white pills, and 2 brown pills. Loestrin 24 blue pills are “active” combination pills (progestin and estrogen). The 2 white pills are also “active” but only contain the estrogen. The last 2 brown pills are non-hormonal pills that contain ferrous fumarate, or iron. They are there to remind you to keep taking a pill every day.

Tell your physician if bleeding is quite significant or if it occurs at unexpected times throughout the month.

Inform your doctor and use a backup birth control if you experience diarrhea or acute vomiting (these symptoms can prevent birth control pills from working).

Since a prescription is required, you’ll need to see your physician regularly while taking birth control pills.

What if you missed a Loestrin pill?

If you missed a Loestrin pill, your actions will depend on the brand you’re using, how many pills you’ve missed, and how far into the birth control package you are.

Be aware that if you forget a birth control pill, you may have a chance of becoming pregnant.

Follow the patient instructions supplied with your medication or ask your doctor or pharmacist the best way to proceed for your specific body. Below is a guideline to follow if you missed a Loestrin pill:

If you missed one Loestrin 24 blue pill:
Take the missed pill as soon as you can and then take the next pill at your usual time. This may mean you take two pills in one day.

If you missed two Loestrin 24 blue pills in a row in the first or second week of the pack:
Your menstrual cycle will likely be thrown off. Take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the following day. Then continue taking one pill a day until the pack is empty. Use backup birth control for at least 7 days of taking birth control pills consistently to ensure you do not become pregnant.

If you missed two Loestrin 24 blue or white pills in a row in the third or fourth week of the pack:
Your menstrual cycle will likely be thrown off and you may not have your period this month. Contact your doctor or Physician if you miss 2 periods in a row because you may become pregnant. Throw out the remainder of the pack and start a new one. Use backup birth control for 7 days to ensure you do not become pregnant.

If you missed three or more Loestrin 24 blue or white pills in a row:
Your menstrual cycle will likely be thrown off and you may not have your period this month. Contact your doctor or Physician if you miss 2 periods in a row because you may become pregnant. Throw out the remainder of the pack and start a new one. Use backup birth control for 7 days while taking the pill every day to ensure you do not become pregnant. 

Please note that the above actions are a guideline only. Since every person is different, products and symptoms may vary, so follow the steps provided on your birth control package for the specific steps you should take.

If you frequently forget to take your birth control pills as directed, contact your doctor and consider switching to another form of birth control.

If you miss a reminder pill (brown pill) during the 7 day cycle it will have no effect, just skip it and continue with the rest of the pack until empty.

Can you overdose on Loestrin?

If you overdose on Loestrin, by taking more doses than your doctor recommends, you may experience severe nausea, vomiting, unusual vaginal bleeding, and other negative effects. Contact your doctor to discuss further.

If you are experiencing severe pain, passing out or having trouble breathing, call 911 for emergency attention. Otherwise, US residents should call the Poison Help line at 1 (800) 222-1222. Canada residents should call a provincial poison control centre.

What to avoid while taking Loestrin

Don’t smoke while taking birth control pills, particularly when you’re 35 or older.

Birth control pills will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases–including HIV and AIDS. Abstinence or using a condom are the only ways to shield yourself from risks such as these.

Your doctor may recommend foods to avoid while taking these birth control pills. Some medicines and herbal products may make birth control less effective.

Your diet and any other medications that you’re taking should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking Loestrin. 

Side Effects of Loestrin

Although rare, get emergency medical help if you have signs of difficulty breathing, hives, an allergic reaction, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

If your Physician has prescribed Loestrin to you, they feel that the benefit outweighs the risk of any side effects.

Below is a list of common side effects of Loestrin:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • headaches
  • acne
  • breast tenderness or swelling
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • painful menstruation
  • vaginal itching or discharge
  • changes in your menstrual periods
  • abdominal pains
  • reduced sex drive
  • raise in blood pressure
  • anxiety and depression

If you experience any of these side effects from Loestrin, discontinue use and call your physician:

  • pain in the jaw or shoulder or chest pain
  • excessive perspiration
  • vision problems
  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine head aches
  • a breast lump
  • symptoms of melancholy– mood changes, sleep difficulties, weakness, exhausted sensation

This isn’t an entire list of side effects of Loestrin, others may occur.

Contact your physician if you experience any negative side effects of Loestrin or if you miss 2 periods in a row.

What other medications affect Loestrin?

Some medications can make birth control pills less effective, which could lead to pregnancy. Birth control pills may affect other medications you take as well. Not all potential interactions are recorded in this guide.

Inform your doctor about all of the medications you use, in addition to those that you begin or quit using during your time using birth control pills. Also, give a list of all your medications to any health care provider who treats you.


Medically reviewed by Dr. Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D.

Dr. Gerardo Sison, MD

Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D., is a registered pharmacist who has worked in clinical and retail settings providing drug education for healthcare professionals and patients alike. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida where he earned a Doctorate of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.). He piloted a longitudinal clinical research program and completed his clinical internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Read More >>