A prescription product, Jolessa is a birth control pill that is taken once a day. However, unlike traditional monthly birth control pills, each pack lasts for 91 days, allowing for menstrual periods only once every three months. Most women have no problems with this medication, but side effects are possible. Commonly reported side effects include headache, nausea, and spotting.

What Is Jolessa?

Jolessa™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive (birth control pill). This product is an "extended-cycle" oral contraceptive; in other words, it is a birth control pill designed to let women have less frequent menstrual periods. With this pill, you will get your period only four times a year. Jolessa is a generic version of Seasonale®.
(Click Jolessa Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label indications.)

Who Makes It?

Jolessa is manufactured by Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals.

How Does It Work?

Jolessa is a combined oral contraceptive, a birth control pill that contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). This drug prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
It also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Jolessa alters 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. This medication also alters the lining of the uterus (endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
There is no reason women need to have a monthly period while taking birth control pills. In fact, the "period" you experience while taking birth control pills isn't really a period at all.
Because ovulation does not occur, the body does not prepare for a possible pregnancy by building up the lining of the uterus, so there is no need to shed the lining, as with a regular period. Instead, the "period" that occurs due to birth control pills is actually caused by a withdrawal of the hormones in the pills, which causes bleeding.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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