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A List of Combined Oral Contraceptives By Strength

written by: Suzanne Florin • edited by: BStone • updated: 12/24/2010

What are the benefits that one can obtain from taking combined oral contraceptives? Here is a list of several combined oral contraceptives by strength - their benefits, side effects, and risks of each contraceptive.

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    Combined oral contraceptives are frequently called "the pill", OCP's, and low-dose combined pills. They contain two hormones in low doses, estrogen and progesterone, that are similar to the actual hormones in a woman's body. These pills prevent pregnancy by interfering with the release of eggs in the ovary. They also regulate the menstrual cycle, treat painful and heavy periods, and are often times used to treat endometriosis.

    When taking oral contraceptives, it is very important to follow carefully the instructions advised by the doctor. These prescription drugs are effective only when proper dosing is administered daily. Although there are side effects in taking these pills, they are usually nothing serious nor hazardous to one's health. However, a doctor must be notified immediately should there be manifestations of serious side effects.

    This article provides a list of combined oral contraceptives by strength, as well as their benefits, side effects, and risks.

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    Cilest

    This oral contraceptive pill contains two active ingredients - norgestimate (250 mcg) as the synthetic version of progesterone, and ethinylestradiol (35 mcg) as the synthetic form of estrogen. Cilest, like all the other oral contraceptive pills, interferes with the meanstrual cycle. This action prevents the hormones from releasing eggs for fertilization. Aside from that, the pill thickens the mucus found at the neck of the uterus, making it impossible for a sperm to get in and fertilize an egg. The hormones also change the texture and quality of the endometrium, and this makes it less conducive for implantation.

    Most common side effects:

    • Decreased appetite for sex
    • Mood swings
    • Rise in blood pressure
    • Tenderness and enlargement of the breasts
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fluid retention
    • Rashes or other skin reactions
    • Change in mestrual bleeding
    • Weight changes

    Administration of this pill is discouraged to people having these medical conditions: Angina, blood disorders, severe diabetes, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, severe liver disease, gallstones, cancer that involves the genital tract, and those who had a history of jaundice or breast cancer. Women who are suspected to be pregnant, those over the age of 50, and breastfeeding women are not prescribed to take Cilest.

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    Femodene

    This hormonal contraception is made up of these active ingredients - ethinylestradiol (30 mcg) and gestodene (75 mcg), a "third generation" synthetic version of progesterone. Femodene is used for contraception, treats endometriosis and several menstrual disorders. The pill regulates the menstrual cycle, and it results in less painful and lighter bleeding.

    Femodene protects women from pregnancy, as it prevents ovulation from taking place. Missing a tablet or two would still give protection from pregnancy, but three or more missed tablets make the pill ineffective.

    Most common side effects:

    • Less appetite for sex
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Mood swings
    • Rise in blood pressure
    • Skin reactions
    • Changes in weight
    • Bleeding or spotting
    • Changes in menstrual bleeding

    Women are at risk of serious side effects and should not take Femodene if they have the following medical and health conditions: had a history of stroke, breast cancer, jaundice, and heart attack, severe liver disease, angina, gallstones, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, cancer that involves the genital tract, and heart valve disease. Women who are suspected to be pregnant, breastfeeding women, and those over 50 years of age are not advised to take this pill.

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    This page is a continuation of the list of combined oral contraceptives by strength, their benefits, side effects, and risks. There are links included in the resources section for further research on the pills listed in this article.
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    Synphase

    This oral contraceptive pill is a triaphasic pill; each 21-day pack contains three types of tablets with varying doses of hormones. Synphase is used solely for the purpose of contraception, as it interferes with the normal menstrual cycle. Ovulation is prevented by the synthetic hormones that make up this pill. Because the pill creates a lighter and less painful menstrual flow, this is sometimes prescribed to women who experience heavy and irregular periods.

    Most common side effects:

    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Decreased appetite for sex
    • Headache or migraine
    • Gallstones
    • Changes in menstrual bleeding
    • Skin reactions
    • Rise in blood pressure
    • Mood swings
    • Changes in weight

    Synphase is not advised to women who have the following medical and health conditions: angina and other heart disease, gallstones, severe liver disease, heart valve disease, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, had a history of stroke, breast cancer, jaundice, and heart attack, cancer that involves the genital tract, and those who are over the age of 50. Breastfeeding women and those who are suspected to be pregnant are not prescribed to take this pill.

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    Yaz

    This pill contains two active ingredients - drospirenone (3 mg) and ethinylestradiol (30 mcg). Yaz (or Yasmin) offers several benefits such as treatment of mild to moderate acne, and the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) that is characterized by mood swings, tenderness of the breasts, weight gain, and painful joints. This oral contraceptive prevents ovulation, and makes the endometrium impossible for implantation.

    Most common side effects:

    • Depression, sleep problems, anxiety
    • Weight changes
    • Vaginal itching
    • Changes in menstrual bleeding
    • Chest pains
    • Tenderness, lumps, or swelling of the breasts
    • Skin reactions

    Women are not advised to take this pill if they have the following medical conditions: disorder of the adrenal glands, liver or kidney diseases, vaginal bleeding of unknown cause, history of jaundice, and any type of cancer.