you need to know about oral contraceptives
and the Pill
More choices for today's woman
Oral contraceptives, often referred to as the Pill, are
the most widely used and effective method of birth control
available today. Many types of oral contraceptives are
available, sometimes making it hard to know which one
will be right for you.
The Women's Health Division of Watson Pharma, Inc., has
put together this brochure to help give you a basic understanding
of the Pill, how it works, and what types are available
However, this brochure cannot provide all the facts about
the pill or address all the potential risks associated
with taking oral contraceptives. As always, you should
discuss this information with your doctor or primary healthcare
provider, who can best determine what is appropriate for
What is the Pill?
What are the different types?
The Pill is a reversible, highly effective prescription
method of birth control. It is a monthly series of pills
that is taken orally as prescribed by your healthcare
The progestin and estrogen in the Pill are synthetic versions
of progesterone and estrogen, two sex hormones that are
produced naturally in a woman's body and regulate a woman's
menstrual cycles. The Pill is divided into two basic types,
depending on the synthetic (man-made) hormones they contain.
One type contains two hormones, progestin and estrogen,
and is called a "Combination Pill." The second
type of Pill contains only progestin and is called the
"Progestin-only Pill" or POP.
Combination pills can be further divided into monophasic,
biphasic, and triphasic pills. With monophasic pills,
the dose of the estrogen and progestin remains the same
with each pill throughout the month. Biphasic and triphasic
pills, on the other hand, vary the levels of the hormones
two or three times during the woman's menstrual cycle,
so pills that are taken at the beginning of the month
may have different levels of estrogen and progestin than
the pills that are taken during the middle and/or end
of the month. Today, triphasics are the most commonly
prescribed type of oral contraceptives. Each type of combination
pill has certain advantages and disadvantages so it is
important that you speak with your healthcare provider
to determine which combination may be best for you.
The POP contains only progestin and is suitable for women
who cannot take birth control pills that contain estrogen,
such as nursing mothers or women with a history of blood
How does the Pill work?
The two types of Pill work slightly differently to prevent
pregnancy. With the Combination Pill, the estrogen prevents
pregnancy by stopping the development of the egg in the
ovary. The progestin component may prevent the egg from
being released by the ovary in about one-half of users,
and thickens the mucus in the cervix to help prevent sperm
from reaching the egg. Progestin may also slow the movement
of the egg through the fallopian tubes. The POP relies
fully on the activity of progestin to prevent pregnancy.
Both the Combination Pill and the POP may also prevent
fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus (womb).
How do I take the Pill?
Pills are available in packs of 21 and 28.
With 21-pill packages, you should take one pill at the
same time each day for 21 days. For the next 7 days, you
will not take any pills. During this week, you will have
your period. Then, you will start a new pack of pills,
on the same day of the week that you started your first
With 28-pill packages, you will take one pill at the same
time each day for 28 days. When all the pills in the pack
have been taken, you can start a new pack. The last seven
pills in the 28-pill packages do not contain any hormones.
They are in the package so that you can take one pill
each day and not have to remember when to take a pill
and when not to. During the week that you take the seven
pills with no hormones, you will have your period.
What are the benefits of
The Pill is a safe way to prevent pregnancy for most women.
It is convenient to use and does not interrupt sex. The
Combination Pill is also believed to provide shorter,
more regular periods with fewer cramps and may provide
some protection against ovarian cysts, noncancerous breast
tumors, and anemia.
But remember, the Pill helps prevent pregnancy. It does
not protect you against HIV infection (AIDS) and other
sexually transmitted diseases. If you have any additional
questions, you should discuss them with your healthcare
Who should not take the
You should not take the Pill if you:
I need other methods of contraception while using the
more than 15 cigarettes a day and are 35 or older
a history of heart attack or stroke
had blood clots or inflammation of the veins
had an abnormal growth or cancer of the breast or
chest pain (angina pectoris)
yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
during pregnancy or prior pill use
you might be pregnant
undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
You will need to use back-up methods of contraception
(condoms, spermicides, etc.) only for the first 7 days
after you begin your initial pack of pills. You will also
need to use other forms of contraception if you forget
to take a pill.
Are there side effects when
taking the Pill?
Some women may experience side effects while taking the
Pill. These include irregular bleeding for the first few
months, changes in appetite, depression, headaches and/or
dizziness, nausea, missed periods, weight changes, high
blood pressure, and breast tenderness.
If any of the above symptoms continue you should contact
your healthcare provider. Many times these symptoms can
be eased by changing the type of Pill that you take.
Can I take other medicines while
taking the Pill?
If you take some medications, including some antibiotics,
your pills may not work as well. Use a backup method (such
as condoms or foam) until you check with your healthcare
What should I do if I forget
to take a Pill?
If you forget to take one pill, take it as soon as you
remember. Then take your next Pill at the regular time,
even if it means you may have to take two pills on the
same day. If you forget to take more than one pill, consult
your healthcare provider immediately and use alternative
forms of birth control (condoms, sponge, etc.). Remember,
missing pills or taking your pill late may increase your
chance of becoming pregnant. For more information, consult
the Detailed Patient Labeling section of the prescribing
information enclosed with your prescription.
Is spotting or bleeding between periods
Some women have spotting or light bleeding between their
periods. If you experience spotting or light bleeding,
continue to take your pills. This problem usually resolves
within the first three months. Spotting does not usually
mean that your birth control pills are not working. If the problem persists, contact your healthcare provider.
When considering oral contraception, ask
your healthcare provider about Watson oral contraceptives:
High-quality, effective oral contraceptives that meet
Watson is a leader in providing high-quality, competitively
priced women's healthcare products.
We offer an extensive line of quality oral contraceptives
and many are competitively priced to the brands you may
already know. Whether it is the Combination Pill or POP,
monophasic or triphasic, Watson may have the oral contraceptive
that's appropriate for you.
All Watson oral contraceptives are produced at the high quality and efficacy standards of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So with Watson, you have confidence in your pills' efficacy when used as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Click here to see US Prescribing information.
Getting the right Pill for you
You must see a healthcare provider to find out whether
you can take the Pill and which one of the many available
Pills is appropriate for you. Your healthcare provider
will discuss your medical history with you, check your
blood pressure, and give you any other medical exam that
may be needed. And remember to ask about oral contraceptives
from Watson. Your doctor can choose which one of the many
effective pills is just right for you.
*Brand names are the trademarks of the products' manufacturers and/or owners.
**Products illustrated may not appear at actual size and/or exact color.