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Viorele

How Does This Contraceptive Work?

Viorele is a combined oral contraceptive, which means that it is a birth control pill that contains two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (desogestrel). Most importantly, the hormones in Viorele prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries).
 
However, it also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Viorele changes the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, Viorele alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
 
Most traditional birth control pills have 21 days of active pills (that contain the hormones), followed by 7 days of inactive pills (with no active ingredients). This gives your body a break from the hormones, causing you to have a period. However, the last week of the Viorele pack contains only 2 inactive tablets, plus 5 tablets that contain only ethinyl estradiol. These extra days with ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) may decrease breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between periods).
 

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations to keep in mind while taking this contraceptive include the following:
 
  • Viorele comes in the form of a tablet. It is taken by mouth once a day.
 
  • You can take it with food or on an empty stomach. If Viorele bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
 
  • Each pack of Viorele contains 28 pills. Be sure to take them in order. Once you finish a pack, start a new pack right away the next day. You will probably start your period during the last seven days of the pack.
 
  • It is very important to take Viorele every day, at the same time each day. Try to pick a time that is easy to remember, such as at bedtime or breakfast. If you have trouble remembering, please talk with your healthcare provider, as missing pills increases your risk of pregnancy.
 
  • Make sure you know exactly what to do if you miss any pills. In some circumstances, you may need to use a backup method of contraception, such as condoms, for seven days.
 
  • For the contraceptive to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
 
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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