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Precautions and Warnings With Lessina

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Lessina

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Lessina include the following:
  • Combined oral contraceptives (including Lessina) increase the risk of life-threatening problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is quite small for healthy, young, nonsmoking women. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain. Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of these serious Lessina side effects. This risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35.
  • Lessina can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Lessina for more information). Many of these interactions are severe enough to lead to unintentional pregnancy.
  • When taken correctly, Lessina is very effective for preventing pregnancy. However, it becomes much less effective if taken incorrectly. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Lessina (including how and when to start it and what to do if you miss pills).
  • Lessina does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Lessina.
  • 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 (non-cancerous) liver tumors. Very rarely, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
  • Hormonal contraceptives (such as Lessina) may make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, Lessina may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
  • Lessina may increase blood sugar, 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 Lessina and other hormonal contraceptives).
  • Hormonal contraceptives (including Lessina) can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
  • Lessina 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 Lessina. 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.
  • Lessina can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start Lessina, especially if you already have high cholesterol.
  • Sometimes, hormonal contraceptives may make depression worse. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop new or worsening depression symptoms.
  • Occasionally, Lessina (as well as any other hormonal contraceptive) can cause eye changes that may make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
  • Lessina is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Levlite and Pregnancy).
  • Contraceptive hormones (such as the ones in Lessina) 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 Levlite and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives (such as Lessina) are usually not recommended for breastfeeding women.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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