Seasonale Side Effects

Bloating, headaches, and nausea are among the possible side effects of Seasonale. In most cases, these problems are mild and do not require treatment. However, more serious side effects can occur with the drug, such as chest pain, sudden loss of vision, or depression. You should contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any serious reactions to Seasonale.

An Introduction to Seasonale Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Seasonale® (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol). However, not everyone who uses the contraceptive will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Seasonale. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Seasonale

Seasonale has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In studies for most medications, the side effects that occur in a group of people taking the drug are documented and compared to those that occur in another group of people not taking the medicine. (These people take a placebo that does not contain any active ingredients.)
As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. However, it is not possible to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies.
Because it is difficult to obtain much information about possible side effects from studies that do not use a placebo, only vague information is available about Seasonale side effects. In fact, the side effects listed in the prescribing information for the drug are actually common to all birth control pills in general, not necessarily just Seasonale.
Some of these common reactions include but are not limited to:
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness and enlargement
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting between periods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Changes in sex drive.
Women are often concerned about weight gain due to birth control pills, but recent research suggests that birth control pills probably do not cause weight gain for most women (see Seasonale and Weight Gain).

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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