Ortho Micronor Warnings and Precautions

Since not all women respond well to Ortho Micronor, warnings and precautions for this form of birth control should be discussed with your healthcare provider beforehand. You should not use Ortho Micronor if you have liver disease, liver tumors, or breast cancer. Before using the pill, let your healthcare provider know about all existing medical conditions you have and any other medications you are taking.

Ortho Micronor: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using Ortho Micronor® (norethindrone) if you have:
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (or if you have had cancer in the past)
  • Liver disease, including liver failure, cirrhosis, hepatitis, or liver tumors
  • Migraines or other unusual or severe headaches
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Ortho Micronor

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Ortho Micronor include the following:
  • Ortho Micronor is a progestin-only birth control pill and is a little less effective than combined birth control pills (which contain both a progestin and an estrogen).
  • If you happen to get pregnant while taking Ortho Micronor, you may have a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside the uterus (often called a "tubal pregnancy"). Be sure to report any signs of an ectopic pregnancy, such as severe abdominal (stomach) pain or back pain.
  • It is normal to experience irregular menstrual bleeding while taking Ortho Micronor. Your period may be early or late, and you may have bleeding or spotting between periods. If more than 45 days go by without a period, you should take a pregnancy test. If your period is late and you missed any pills or took them late, you should also take a pregnancy test.
  • Ortho Micronor can cause ovarian cysts (non-cancerous fluid-filled sacs in the ovary). Usually, these cysts go away without treatment and rarely cause problems.
  • Combined oral contraceptives may increase the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer. It is not clear if progestin-only contraceptives (such as Ortho Micronor) also increase these risks, but it may be a good idea to avoid any hormonal contraceptives if you have a history of these cancers.
  • Ortho Micronor can interact with a number of different medications (see Ortho Micronor Drug Interactions for more information). Some of these interactions are severe enough to lead to unintentional pregnancy.
  • When taken correctly, Ortho Micronor is very effective for preventing pregnancy. However, it becomes much less effective if taken incorrectly. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Ortho Micronor (including how and when to start it and what to do if you miss pills). It is very important to take Ortho Micronor at the exact same time each day, since taking it just a few hours late can increase the risk of pregnancy.
  • Ortho Micronor does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Ortho Micronor.
  • Oral contraceptives increase the risk of benign (non-cancerous) liver tumors. Very rarely, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
  • Ortho Micronor may increase blood sugar, which can be a problem for women with diabetes. Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you start having migraines or other unusual or severe headaches while taking Ortho Micronor (or if headaches you previously had start to get worse). You may have to stop taking Ortho Micronor.
  • Ortho Micronor is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Ortho Micronor and Pregnancy).
  • Although Ortho Micronor is usually considered to be okay for breastfeeding women, discuss this with your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you are breastfeeding or plan to start (see Ortho Micronor and Breastfeeding).
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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