Lo/Ovral Side Effects

Nausea, skin discoloration, and changes in sex drive are some of the more common side effects reported with birth control pills like Lo/Ovral. Side effects of oral contraceptives are usually not dangerous and improve within the first few months of use. Some of the potentially serious side effects of Lo/Ovral that require immediate medical attention include vision changes, heavy spotting, and high cholesterol.

Lo/Ovral Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Lo/Ovral® (norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol); however, not all women who use the contraceptive will experience side effects. In fact, most women tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Often, many of the bothersome side effects of Lo/Ovral improve (or go away completely) within the first few months of use.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Lo/Ovral. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Lo/Ovral side effects with you. Lo/Ovral is equivalent to Cryselle®, Elinest™, and Low-Ogestrel® birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to each of these medications.)

Clinical Studies on Contraceptives

Before medications are approved for general use, they must undergo clinical studies to ensure that they are both safe and effective. In clinical studies for most medications, one group of people is given the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). During the study, the people are not usually told if they are taking the real medication or the placebo.
In these studies, the side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and whether they are actual side effects of the medication. However, it is generally unethical to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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