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«ALESSE® 28 Tablets (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets) Rx only Patients should be counseled that oral contraceptives do not protect ...»

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10. Headache The onset or exacerbation of migraine or development of headache with a new pattern that is recurrent, persistent, or severe requires discontinuation of oral contraceptives and evaluation of the cause. (See WARNINGS, 1c. and CONTRAINDICATIONS.)

11. Bleeding Irregularities Breakthrough bleeding and spotting are sometimes encountered in patients on oral contraceptives, especially during the first three months of use. The type and dose of progestogen may be important. If bleeding persists or recurs, nonhormonal causes should be considered and adequate diagnostic measures taken to rule out malignancy or pregnancy in the event of breakthrough bleeding, as in the case of any abnormal vaginal bleeding. If pathology has been excluded, time or a change to another formulation may solve the problem. In the event of amenorrhea, pregnancy should be ruled out.

Some women may encounter post-pill amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea (possibly with anovulation), especially when such a condition was preexistent.

12. Ectopic Pregnancy Ectopic as well as intrauterine pregnancy may occur in contraceptive failures.

14

PRECAUTIONS

1. General Patients should be counseled that oral contraceptives do not protect against transmission of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis.

2. Physical Examination and Follow-Up A periodic personal and family medical history and complete physical examination are appropriate for all women, including women using oral contraceptives. The physical examination, however, may be deferred until after initiation of oral contraceptives if requested by the woman and judged appropriate by the clinician. The physical examination should include special reference to blood pressure, breasts, abdomen, and pelvic organs, including cervical cytology, and relevant laboratory tests. In case of undiagnosed, persistent, or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding, appropriate diagnostic measures should be conducted to rule out malignancy.

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer or who have breast nodules should be monitored with particular care.

3. Lipid Disorders Women who are being treated for hyperlipidemias should be followed closely if they elect to use oral contraceptives. Some progestogens may elevate LDL levels and may render the control of hyperlipidemias more difficult. (See WARNINGS, 1a., 1d., and 8.) A small proportion of women will have adverse lipid changes while taking oral contraceptives.

Nonhormonal contraception should be considered in women with uncontrolled dyslipidemias.

Persistent hypertriglyceridemia may occur in a small population of combination oral contraceptive users. Elevations of plasma triglycerides may lead to pancreatitis and other complications.

4. Liver Function If jaundice develops in any woman receiving such drugs, the medication should be discontinued.

Steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function.

5. Fluid Retention Oral contraceptives may cause some degree of fluid retention. They should be prescribed with caution, and only with careful monitoring, in patients with conditions which might be aggravated by fluid retention.

6. Emotional Disorders Patients becoming significantly depressed while taking oral contraceptives should stop the medication and use an alternate method of contraception in an attempt to determine whether the symptom is drug related. Women with a history of depression should be carefully observed and the drug discontinued if depression recurs to a serious degree.

7. Contact Lenses Contact-lens wearers who develop visual changes or changes in lens tolerance should be assessed by an ophthalmologist.

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9. Drug Interactions

Changes in Contraceptive Effectiveness Associated with Coadministration of Other Products:

Contraceptive effectiveness may be reduced when hormonal contraceptives are coadministered with antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and other drugs that increase the metabolism of contraceptive steroids. This could result in unintended pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding. Examples include rifampin, rifabutin, barbiturates, primidone, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, dexamethasone, carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, griseofulvin, and modafinil. In such cases a back-up nonhormonal method of birth control should be considered.

Several cases of contraceptive failure and breakthrough bleeding have been reported in the literature with concomitant administration of antibiotics such as ampicillin and other penicillins, and tetracyclines. However, clinical pharmacology studies investigating drug interactions between combined oral contraceptives and these antibiotics have reported inconsistent results.

Several of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors have been studied with co-administration of oral combination hormonal contraceptives; significant changes (increase and decrease) in the plasma levels of the estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases. The safety and efficacy of oral contraceptive products may be affected with coadministration of anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Healthcare providers should refer to the label of the individual anti-HIV protease inhibitors for further drug-drug interaction information.





Herbal products containing St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) may induce hepatic enzymes (cytochrome P 450) and p-glycoprotein transporter and may reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive steroids. This may also result in breakthrough bleeding.

Increase in Plasma Levels Associated with Co-Administered Drugs:

Co-administration of atorvastatin and certain oral contraceptives containing ethinyl estradiol increases AUC values for ethinyl estradiol by approximately 20%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen increase the bioavailability of ethinyl estradiol since these drugs act as competitive inhibitors for sulfation of ethinyl estradiol in the gastrointestinal wall, a known pathway of elimination for ethinyl estradiol. CYP 3A4 inhibitors such as indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, fluconazole, and troleandomycin may increase plasma hormone levels.

Troleandomycin may also increase the risk of intrahepatic cholestasis during coadministration with combination oral contraceptives.

Changes in Plasma Levels of Co-Administered Drugs:

Combination hormonal contraceptives containing some synthetic estrogens (eg, ethinyl estradiol) may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds. Increased plasma concentrations of cyclosporin, prednisolone and other corticosteroids, and theophylline have been reported with concomitant administration of oral contraceptives. Decreased plasma concentrations of acetaminophen and increased clearance of temazepam, salicylic acid, morphine, and clofibric acid, due to induction of conjugation (particularly glucuronidation), have been noted when these drugs were administered with oral contraceptives.

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10. Interactions with Laboratory Tests Certain endocrine- and liver-function tests and blood components may be affected by oral

contraceptives:

a. Increased prothrombin and factors VII, VIII, IX, and X; decreased antithrombin 3;

increased norepinephrine-induced platelet aggregability.

b. Increased thyroid-binding globulin (TBG) leading to increased circulating total thyroid hormone, as measured by protein-bound iodine (PBI), T4 by column or by radioimmunoassay. Free T3 resin uptake is decreased, reflecting the elevated TBG; free T4 concentration is unaltered.

c. Other binding proteins may be elevated in serum i.e., corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), sex hormone-binding globulins (SHBG) leading to increased levels of total circulating corticosteroids and sex steroids respectively. Free or biologically active hormone concentrations are unchanged.

d. Triglycerides may be increased and levels of various other lipids and lipoproteins may be affected.

e. Glucose tolerance may be decreased.

f. Serum folate levels may be depressed by oral-contraceptive therapy. This may be of clinical significance if a woman becomes pregnant shortly after discontinuing oral contraceptives.

11. Carcinogenesis See WARNINGS section.

12. Pregnancy Pregnancy Category X. See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS sections.

13. Nursing Mothers Small amounts of oral-contraceptive steroids and/or metabolites have been identified in the milk of nursing mothers, and a few adverse effects on the child have been reported, including jaundice and breast enlargement. In addition, combination oral contraceptives given in the postpartum period may interfere with lactation by decreasing the quantity and quality of breast milk. If possible, the nursing mother should be advised not to use combination oral contraceptives but to use other forms of contraception until she has completely weaned her child.

14. Pediatric Use Safety and efficacy of ALESSE tablets have been established in women of reproductive age.

Safety and efficacy are expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents under the age of 16 and for users 16 years and older. Use of ALESSE before menarche is not indicated.

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16. Information for the Patient See Patient Labeling Printed Below.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

An increased risk of the following serious adverse reactions (see WARNINGS section for

additional information) has been associated with the use of oral contraceptives:

Thromboembolic and thrombotic disorders and other vascular problems (including thrombophlebitis and venous thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism, mesenteric thrombosis, arterial thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral thrombosis), carcinoma of the reproductive organs and breasts, hepatic neoplasia (including hepatic adenomas or benign liver tumors), ocular lesions (including retinal vascular thrombosis), gallbladder disease, carbohydrate and lipid effects, elevated blood pressure, and headache including migraine.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in patients receiving oral contraceptives and

are believed to be drug related (alphabetically listed):

Acne Amenorrhea Anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, and severe reactions with respiratory and circulatory symptoms Breast changes: tenderness, pain, enlargement, secretion Budd-Chiari syndrome Cervical erosion and secretion, change in Cholestatic jaundice Chorea, exacerbation of Colitis Contact lenses, intolerance to Corneal curvature (steepening), change in Dizziness Edema/fluid retention Erythema multiforme Erythema nodosum Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal pain, cramps, and bloating) Hirsutism Infertility after discontinuation of treatment, temporary Lactation, diminution in, when given immediately postpartum Libido, change in Melasma/chloasma which may persist Menstrual flow, change in Mood changes, including depression Nausea

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The following adverse reactions have been reported in users of oral contraceptives:

Cataracts Cystitis-like syndrome Dysmenorrhea Hemolytic uremic syndrome Hemorrhagic eruption Optic neuritis, which may lead to partial or complete loss of vision Premenstrual syndrome Renal function, impaired OVERDOSAGE Symptoms of oral contraceptive overdosage in adults and children may include nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness/fatigue; withdrawal bleeding may occur in females. There is no specific antidote and further treatment of overdose, if necessary, is directed to the symptoms.

NONCONTRACEPTIVE HEALTH BENEFITS

The following noncontraceptive health benefits related to the use of oral contraceptives are supported by epidemiological studies which largely utilized oral-contraceptive formulations containing doses exceeding 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol or 0.05 mg of mestranol.

Effects on menses:

Increased menstrual cycle regularity Decreased blood loss and decreased incidence of iron-deficiency anemia Decreased incidence of dysmenorrhea

Effects related to inhibition of ovulation:

Decreased incidence of functional ovarian cysts Decreased incidence of ectopic pregnancies

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DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

To achieve maximum contraceptive effectiveness, ALESSE® (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets) must be taken exactly as directed and at intervals not exceeding 24 hours. The dosage of ALESSE-28 is one pink tablet daily for 21 consecutive days, followed by one lightgreen inert tablet daily for 7 consecutive days, according to the prescribed schedule. It is recommended that ALESSE-28 tablets be taken at the same time each day.

The dispenser should be kept in the wallet supplied to avoid possible fading of the pills. If the pills fade, patients should continue to take them as directed.

During The First Cycle Of Use The possibility of ovulation and conception prior to initiation of medication should be considered. The patient should be instructed to begin taking ALESSE on either the first Sunday after the onset of menstruation (Sunday Start) or on Day 1 of menstruation (Day 1 Start).

Sunday start The patient is instructed to begin taking ALESSE-28 on the first Sunday after the onset of menstruation. If menstruation begins on a Sunday, the first tablet (pink) is taken that day. One pink tablet should be taken daily for 21 consecutive days, followed by one light-green inert tablet daily for 7 consecutive days. Withdrawal bleeding should usually occur within 3 days following discontinuation of pink tablets and may not have finished before the next pack is started. During the first cycle, contraceptive reliance should not be placed on ALESSE-28 until a pink tablet has been taken daily for 7 consecutive days, and a nonhormonal back-up method of birth control should be used during those 7 days.



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