Lybrel Warnings and Precautions

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Lybrel

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Lybrel include the following:
  • Lybrel is taken continuously, with no hormone-free periods. Compared to traditional birth control pills, it provides 13 additional weeks of hormones per year. It is not known if this increases the risk of any of the problems that can occur with birth control pills.
  • Combined oral contraceptives (including Lybrel) increase the risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. These risks are minimal for healthy, young nonsmokers. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain.
  • Even though you will not have a regular monthly period while taking Lybrel, you will likely have some bleeding and spotting from time to time. This bleeding may be inconvenient and unpredictable. Keep taking Lybrel as usual, but make sure to contact your healthcare provider if the bleeding is heavy or prolonged.
  • Lybrel does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Lybrel.
  • Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of serious Lybrel side effects (such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots). This risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35.
  • Combined oral contraceptives may also 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.
  • Birth control pills are sometimes not the best contraceptive choice for obese women. This form of contraception may be less effective in these women, and obese women may have a higher risk for some of the serious Lybrel side effects.
  • 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 Lybrel) can make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, Lybrel may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
  • Lybrel may increase blood sugar levels, 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 Lybrel and other hormonal contraceptives).
  • Hormonal contraceptives (including Lybrel) can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
  • If you experience a migraine for the first time (or have changes in your migraines if you have had them before) while taking Lybrel, please contact your healthcare provider.
  • Lybrel 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 Lybrel. 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.
  • Lybrel can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start Lybrel, especially if you already have high cholesterol.
  • Sometimes, hormonal contraceptives can make depression worse. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop new or worsening depression symptoms.
  • Occasionally, Lybrel (as well as any other hormonal contraceptive) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
  • Lybrel can interact with a number of different medications (see Lybrel Drug Interactions for more information).
  • Lybrel is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Lybrel and Pregnancy).
  • Contraceptive hormones (such as the ones in Lybrel) do pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Lybrel and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives (such as Lybrel) are not usually recommended for breastfeeding women.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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