Specific Precautions and Warnings With Altavera
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with this contraceptive include the following:
- Combined oral contraceptives, including Altavera, increase the risk of life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is minimal for healthy, young, nonsmoking women. However, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain. Smoking cigarettes significantly increases the risk of these serious Altavera side effects (this risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35).
- This birth control pill is effective at preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. However, it becomes much less effective if taken incorrectly. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Altavera, including how and when to start it, and what to do if you miss pills.
- Altavera can interact with a number of different medications (see Altavera Drug Interactions for more information). Many of these interactions are severe enough to lead to unintentional pregnancy.
- Altavera does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV or AIDS. As a result, it is often a good idea to use condoms in addition to Altavera in order to prevent the transmission of STDs.
- Combined oral contraceptives may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer, although this is an unresolved and controversial issue. However, combined oral contraceptives seem to help protect women against ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Oral contraceptives increase the risk of benign (noncancerous) liver tumors. In rare cases, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
- Hormonal contraceptives, including Altavera, can make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, this birth control pill may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
- Altavera may increase blood sugar levels, particularly in women with diabetes. Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any sudden vision changes, as this may be a sign of a blood clot in the eyes (a possible side effect of Altavera and other hormonal contraceptives).
- Hormonal contraceptives, including Altavera, can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
- Altavera can change your menstrual bleeding patterns. Some women have breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between periods), while others may not have a period at all.
It is normal to have shorter and lighter periods while using Altavera. However, if you notice any unusual changes in your bleeding patterns, let your healthcare provider know. If you miss a period, you should make sure you are not pregnant.
- This contraceptive can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start Altavera, especially if you already have high cholesterol.
- Sometimes, hormonal contraceptives can make depression worse. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop new or worsening symptoms of depression while taking Altavera.
- Occasionally, Altavera (as well as any other hormonal contraceptives) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
- Altavera is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Nordette and Pregnancy).
- Contraceptive hormones, such as the ones in Altavera, do pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Nordette and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives are not usually recommended for women who are breastfeeding.