Precautions and Warnings With Portia

Specific Warnings and Precautions for Portia

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Portia include the following:
  • When used properly, Portia is very effective for preventing pregnancy. However, it becomes much less effective if you take it incorrectly. Make sure you understand exactly how to take Portia (including how and when to start it and what to do if you miss pills).
  • Combined oral contraceptives (including Portia) increase the risk of life-threatening problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is quite small for healthy, young, nonsmoking women. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or chest pain. Smoking cigarettes greatly increases the risk of these serious Portia side effects. This risk is particularly high for smokers over the age of 35.
  • Portia can interact with a number of different medications (see Drug Interactions With Portia for more information). Many of these interactions are severe enough to lead to unintentional pregnancy.
  • Portia does not protect against HIV, AIDS, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many cases, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Portia.
  • Combined oral contraceptives may 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 (non-cancerous) liver tumors. Very rarely, these tumors can rupture and cause serious problems.
  • Hormonal contraceptives (such as Portia) may make gallbladder disease worse. If you have had a problem with your gallbladder, Portia may not be the best contraceptive method for you.
  • Portia may increase blood sugar, 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 Portia and other hormonal contraceptives).
  • Hormonal contraceptives (including Portia) can increase your blood pressure. This can be a problem if you already have high blood pressure.
  • Portia 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 Portia. 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.
  • Portia can affect your cholesterol. Your healthcare provider may need to check your cholesterol levels after you start Portia, 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.
  • Occasionally, Portia (as well as any other hormonal contraceptives) can cause eye changes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses.
  • Portia is considered a pregnancy Category X medication. This means that it should not be used during pregnancy (see Nordette and Pregnancy).
  • Contraceptive hormones (such as the ones in Portia) 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 Nordette and Breastfeeding). Combined hormonal contraceptives (such as Portia) are usually not recommended for breastfeeding women.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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