Pin Me

Comparison of Oral Contraceptive Agents

written by: Suzanne Florin • edited by: lrohner • updated: 12/25/2010

Oral contraceptives vary in terms of their content and benefits. Here is a comparison of oral contraceptive agents with their hormone content, side effects, and risks.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, are prescription medication that are taken primarily to prevent pregnancy. They work in several ways, such as stopping ovulation, changing the quality of the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus, and narrowing the neck of the uterus. Some doctors recommend the use of oral contraceptives to treat menstrual disorders and even acne. In order to achieve the full benefits of these pills, they are supposed to be taken every day and it is important not to miss more than two pills.

    There are several kinds of birth control pills, Some contain both estrogen and progestin (combined oral contraceptives), while some have only one hormone (estrogen-only or progestin-only). The effect of each contraceptive pill depends on its hormone content. Those who intend to take oral contraceptives should discuss with their doctor the past and present medical conditions that they have. By doing so, serious side effects and health hazards will be prevented.

  • slide 2 of 5

    Altavera

    Altavera is a combined oral contraceptive. It contains the synthetic version of two hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Aside from preventing pregnancy, Altavera also offers several benefits such as lighter menstrual bleeding, regular menstrual cycle, less cramps and pain associated with menstruation, and a decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer.

    As with all types of medication, Altavera has some minor side effects such as the following:

    • nausea and vomiting
    • bloating
    • tenderness of the breast
    • mood swings

    Some patients can tolerate the side effects, while some might experience difficulty dealing with them. Prompt medical attention must be given to those who experience these serious side effects: sudden loss of vision, shortness of breath, leg cramps, hypertension, severe headache, dark urine, upper-right abdominal pain, and breast lumps.

    Before taking this pill, the doctor must be informed of the other medications, nonprescription vitamin and herbal supplements that a patient is taking. It is also important to provide a comprehensive information about past and present medical conditions in order to avoid complications and the risk of experiencing serious side effects. Altavera is not recommended for women who have diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, unexplained bleeding, gallstones, depression, and heart disease. Those who had stroke, cancer, blood clots, as well as breastfeeding women are not prescribed with this pill.

  • slide 3 of 5

    Tri-Sprintec

    Tri-Sprintec is a combined oral contraceptive that contains ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) and norgestimate (progestin). It is used to prevent pregnancy, as well as an effective treatment for acne in women who already have their menstruation period. Some doctors prescribe Tri-Sprintec to treat irregular menstrual cyle, heavy menstrual bleeding, and PMDD.

    Some can tolerate and do not experience any health-related reaction from taking Tri-Sprintec. The most common side effects are headaches, bloating, and breakthrough bleeding. But in cases of bothersome experiences that are attributed to this pill as experienced, the doctor must be informed immediately. Among these serious side effects are the following:

    • Signs of a stroke (changes in vision and speech, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, severe headache)
    • Signs of liver damage (jaundice, dark urine, upper-right abdominal pain)
    • Mood changes
    • Chest pains
    • Migraines
    • Signs of a blood clot in the leg (leg cramps, swelling of the foot, pain in the calf)
    • Lump in the breast

    Women are at risk of these side effects if they have certain medical conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, depression, migraines, cancer, unexplained vaginal bleeding, blood clotting disease, and gall bladder disease.

  • slide 4 of 5

    Seasonale

    This combined oral contraceptive pill contains estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (levonorgestrel). It was the first "extended-cycle" oral contraceptive that allows women to have one menstrual period in three months. Seasonale prevents pregnancy by changing the cervical mucus and the endometrium, stopping ovulation, and narrowing the neck of the uterus.

    The most common side effects of Seasonale are the following:

    • Enlargement and tenderness of the breasts
    • Changes in sex drive
    • Bloating
    • Changes in weight
    • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Acne

    Seasonale is not recommended for women who have liver disease, kidney problems, gall bladder disease, diabetes, migraines, blood clotting disorder, migraines, depression, and high cholesterol.

  • slide 5 of 5

privacy policy