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Nortrel Side Effects

Breast tenderness, bloating, nausea, and headaches are some of the common side effects of birth control pills (including Nortrel). Side effects can be bothersome, but are typically not dangerous. However, there are some potentially serious side effects of Nortrel that should be reported immediately to a healthcare provider, including chest pain, changes in vision, and migraines.

An Introduction to Nortrel Side Effects

As with any medicine, Nortrel® (norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol) can cause side effects. However, not all women who use this birth control pill 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 are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. Often, many of the bothersome Nortrel side effects improve (or even completely go away) within the first few cycles of use.

Limitations of Clinical Studies With Birth Control Pills

For most medications, clinical studies are "placebo-controlled," which means that one group of people receives the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" that looks just like the actual medication, but does not contain any active ingredients). The people are not usually told if they were given the real medication or the placebo (this is known as "blinding").
The side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and if they are true side effects of the medication. However, it is not usually ethical 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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