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Alesse Uses

Alesse -- a combined hormonal contraceptive -- is used primarily to prevent pregnancy. However, the drug offers many other benefits in addition to effective contraception, including lighter and less painful menstrual bleeding. Off-label Alesse uses include the treatment of irregular menstrual bleeding, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and other conditions.

Alesse Uses: An Overview

Alesse® (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive, more commonly known as a birth control pill. Like most birth control pills, Alesse offers the following benefits in addition to being easy to use and effective:
  • Less menstrual pain
  • Lighter and more regular menstrual bleeding
  • Decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
(Alesse is equivalent to Aviane®, Lutera™, Falmina™, and Orsythia™ birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to these medications.)
Today, women can choose from a large variety of different birth control options. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and no particular birth control method is right for all women. Some of the most commonly used methods include:
  • Barrier contraceptives -- Condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and other methods that physically block the sperm from entering the uterus
  • Spermicides -- Foams, jellies, gels, suppositories, and inserts
  • Periodic abstinence (known as natural family planning or the rhythm method) -- Avoiding intercourse during the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle
  • Withdrawal -- Removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation
  • Combined hormonal contraceptives (which contain a progestin and an estrogen) -- Most birth control pills, patches, and rings
  • Progestin-only contraceptives -- Some birth control pills ("mini-pills"), injections, and implants
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) -- Implanted devices that are both effective and reversible
  • Surgical sterilization -- Tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") or vasectomy (for men).
Like most birth control pills, Alesse falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). Birth control pills are often a great contraceptive choice for many women. However, combined hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of blood clots and other problems, and not all women should take them (see Alesse Warnings and Precautions for more information).
As with almost all methods of birth control, combined hormonal contraceptives must be used correctly and consistently. It's important to note that Alesse does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Alesse to prevent transmission of STDs.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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