Precautions and Warnings With Ocella

Specific Ocella Warnings and Precautions

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to using Ocella include the following:
  • Ocella is actually a generic version of Yasmin®. Any Yasmin warnings and precautions also apply to Ocella.
  • Ocella is different from most other birth control pills. It contains drospirenone, a hormone that can increase the level of potassium in the blood. This is not usually a problem for most healthy women. But it can be a problem if you take other medications that also increase potassium (see Drug Interactions With Ocella) or if you have kidney, liver, or adrenal problems.
  • Combined oral contraceptives (including Ocella) increase the risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. These risks are quite small for healthy, young nonsmokers. However, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain.
  • Some (but not all) studies suggest that drospirenone (the progestin in this medication) may be more likely to cause blood clots, compared to levonorgestrel (a progestin found in many other birth control pills). 
  • Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of serious Ocella side effects, such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. This risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35.
  • Ocella does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to the drug.
  • 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.
  • Oral contraceptives increase the risk of benign (noncancerous) liver tumors. In rare cases, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
  • Hormonal contraceptives may make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, Ocella may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
  • Ocella may increase blood sugar, particularly in women with diabetes. Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely in this case. 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 Ocella and other hormonal contraceptives).
  • Hormonal contraceptives 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 a change in your migraines if you have had them before) while taking Ocella, please contact your healthcare provider.
  • Ocella 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 Ocella. However, 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.
  • Ocella can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start this medication, 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 while taking the drug.
  • Occasionally, Ocella (as well as any other hormonal contraceptive) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
  • Ocella can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Ocella for more information).
  • Ocella is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Yasmin and Pregnancy).
  • Contraceptive hormones 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 Yasmin and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives (such as Ocella) are not usually recommended for breastfeeding women.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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