How Does It Work?

Enpresse is a "combined" oral contraceptive, which means that it contains two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). Combined oral contraceptives are the most commonly used type of birth control pills. Generally, combined oral contraceptives are more effective than progestin-only birth control pills.
Most importantly, the hormones in Enpresse prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, the drug also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, less important ways. Enpresse changes the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, Enpresse alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
Enpresse is known as a triphasic birth control pill, which means that there are three different "phases" of pills in each pack (plus the last week of tablets with no active ingredients). Each week has a different amount of hormones. This is why it is very important to take the pills in the correct order.

When and How to Use Enpresse

General considerations for when and how to use Enpresse include the following:
  • Enpresse comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth once a day, every day, at the same time each day.
  • Each pack of Enpresse contains 28 pills. Be sure to take them in order. Once you finish a pack, start a new pack right away. You will probably start your period during the last seven days of the pack.
  • You can take Enpresse with food or on an empty stomach. If the drug bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • It is very important to take Enpresse every day, at the same time each day. Try to pick a time that will be easy to remember (such as at bedtime or breakfast). If you have trouble remembering, please talk with your healthcare provider, as missing pills increases your risk of pregnancy.
  • Make sure you know exactly what to do if you miss any pills. In some circumstances, you may need to use a backup method of contraception (such as condoms) for a week.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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