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What Is Apri Used For?

Although Apri is approved for preventing pregnancy, it may also be used off-label for treating acne, PMDD, and painful menstrual periods. This prescription birth control pill works in several ways -- it stops ovulation, alters the cervical mucus, and changes the lining of the uterus. Apri uses provide several benefits, such as lessening menstrual pain, causing lighter and regular menstrual bleeding, and decreasing the risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer.

What Is Apri Used For? -- An Overview

Apri® (desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill, also known as an oral contraceptive, and is a generic version of Desogen®. Like most birth control pills, Apri offers the following benefits:
  • A relatively easy-to-use form of contraception
  • A very effective birth control pill
  • Lighter and regular menstrual bleeding
  • Less menstrual pain
  • A decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
There are a variety of different birth control options available today. Each particular method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and no one birth control method is right for all women. Some of the most commonly used birth control methods include:
  • 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
  • Periodic abstinence, sometimes 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
  • Barrier contraceptives -- condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and various other methods that physically block the sperm from entering the uterus
  • Spermicides -- foams, jellies, gels, suppositories, inserts
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) -- implanted devices that are both very effective and reversible
  • Surgical sterilization -- tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") or a vasectomy (for men).
Like most birth control pills, Apri falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (desogestrel). 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 combined hormonal contraceptives (see Precautions and Warnings With Apri for more information).
As with almost all methods of birth control, combined hormonal contraceptives must be used correctly and consistently. Importantly, Apri does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Apri (to prevent the transmission of STDs).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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