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Loestrin Fe

How Does It Work?

Loestrin Fe is a combined oral contraceptive, the most common type of birth control pill. It is a combined oral contraceptive because it contains a combination of two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (norethindrone). The hormones in Loestrin Fe prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
Loestrin Fe also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. It 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. It also alters the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
The first 21 tablets in each pack of Loestrin Fe contain the active hormones. The last seven tablets do not contain any hormones, but they do contain iron. This iron may help replace the iron you lose when you have your period, which may help prevent anemia.

When and How to Use Loestrin Fe

General considerations for when and how to use the medication include the following:
  • Loestrin Fe comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth once a day.
  • It is important to take it every day and at the same time each day. Try to pick a time that is 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.
  • Each pack of Loestrin Fe contains 28 pills. Make sure to take them in order. After you finish one pack, start a new one the next day, without letting any days pass in between packs. You will probably start your period during the last week of the pack, but make sure to start the next pack on schedule, no matter when your period starts.
  • You can take Loestrin Fe with or without food. If the medication bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • 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. Loestrin Fe will not work if you stop taking it.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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