Contraception is a process that a couple follows to avoid pregnancy despite engaging in sexual intercourse, 

There are various ways of contraception which is suitable according to the couple’s situation and choice. So, if you visit a family planning clinic, the care provider will inform you regarding every available contraception method and you can choose the best that suits you. 

An oral contraceptive pill is a form of contraception that is particularly useful for young couples who do not want to conceive for a short period.

In this article, we will discuss the oral contraceptive pill named Novelon, its composition, dose, side effects of the drugs, and its interaction with other medications.

We would also advise you on how to take the medicine, what to do if you miss the dose, and what should you take in the first place.

What is Novelon?

Novelon is a combination medicine composed of an estrogen component— Ethinyl estradiol and a progesterone component— desogestrel. The medicine is used as a birth control pill for the prevention of pregnancy. It is manufactured by Organon Ltd.

The combination tablet works by inhibiting ovulation (egg production) and also by preventing fertilization.

The medicine must be taken at a particular time of the day, under the prescription of the doctor. It can be consumed on empty stomach or with food.

The contraceptive pill is not recommended for people below 18 years of age. It is important to note that the pill does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections like HIV. So, we advise you to use protection like condoms while engaging in sexual activity to prevent these infections

What is the Dose of Novelon?

Each pill of Novelon contains 0.15 mg of desogestrel and 0.03 mg of ethynyl estradiol. While taking the pill follow the advice of the doctor. You can also check the prescription label. 

You should take one pill every day from the first day of your menstrual cycle and should not miss any dose. If you miss any dose, it increases the risk of contraception failure and you might get pregnant.

You should not take more than one pill per day. If there is an overdose you need to inform your healthcare provider. You should take the pill at the same time of the day.

How Should You Take Novelon Pills?

Each pack of Novelon contains 21 pills. You should start taking pills from the first day of your menstrual cycle. The first day of the cycle is considered the day when menstrual bleed begins. Then you need to continue taking one pill per day for 21 days. You should not take pills for the next 7 days following completion of a 21 pills pack which is known as the “pill-free period”

During these 7 days, you might experience vaginal bleeding which is also known as a breakthrough bleed. You should start a new pack within 7 days. Then you need to continue the cycle.

What Would Happen If You Miss A Dose?

If you miss 1 pill, then take the missed pill as soon as you remember and also take the regular pill. It might also involve taking 2 pills on the same day. You are not required to use any additional form of contraception.

If you missed 2 or more pills in the first 2 weeks of the cycle, take the last missed pill as soon as you remember, and do not worry about other pills missed earlier. Then continue the rest of the pack as regular. You must use additional contraception such as condoms for the next 7 days.

If 2 or more pills are missed in the last week of the cycle, then you need to start a new pack after 21 days and avoid a “pill-free period”.

If you are confused or not sure of what to do, you should continue your pills, use an additional method of contraception and get advice from the doctor.

How Much Does Novelon Cost?

Each pack of Novelon containing 21 pills costs around $2 to $2.5. The cost of the medicine varies according to the place where you are getting it from and also the number of tablets that you are buying.

The History of Novelon

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), first approved the combined oral contraceptive in 1960. [1]

The Desogestrel and Ethinyl estradiol combination was approved in the United Kingdom in 1981. In the United States, it was approved in 1992.

Desogestrel was first synthesized in the Netherlands by Organon International. It was the first “third generation” progesterone and was approved in Europe for marketing in 1981.

Ethinyl estradiol was the first synthetic oral estrogen. It was synthesized in 1938 and approved by Food and Drug Administration in 1943. Later, in 1960 it was approved for use in combined oral contraceptive pills.

Who Should Take Novelon?

Novelon is a combined oral contraceptive pill that has multiple uses. Some of the conditions in which Novelon can be beneficial include:

  • It allows for uninterrupted sexual intercourse without the conception
  • It helps in regulating your periods making them regular and less painful, with less bleeding.
  • It helps in decreasing premenstrual syndrome-associated symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, anxiety, sleeping problems, bloating, headaches, and spotty skin.
  • It is also found to help reduce acne
  • It might provide some protection against pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • It reduces the risk of certain cancers like ovarian, endometrial, and colon cancers.
  • It might decrease the risk of fibroids.
  • It might help in reducing ovarian cysts.
  • The pill is also helpful for non-cancerous breast disease.

Novelon Safety & Side-Effects

Novelon is generally well tolerated and safe if you are taking these pills under the recommendation of the doctor.[2] However, there are a few common and potentially serious risks associated with the use of Novelon.

Some of the common side effects associated with Novelon are mentioned below. These side effects are usually dose-dependent and subsidies on their own. It’s better to inform your health care provider if these side effects are severe or persistent.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular periods
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rashes
  • Acne
  • Weight gain [3]
  • Hair loss
  • Back pain
  • Odorless vaginal discharge
  • Dizziness
  • Symptoms associated with allergies such as rashes, itching, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and face
  • Depression and irritability

There are some rare but potential risks involved with the use of Novelon. You need to be cautious about these risks:

  • Blood clot: The Ethinyl estradiol component can increase the risk of blood clots in various vessels such as clots in the leg (Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)), Clot in the lungs (Pulmonary embolism), stroke, and heart attack. The risk is rare but you might be assessed regarding the risk before the doctor prescribes you the medicine.
  • Cancer: There is a slight increase in the risk of breast and cervical cancer. However, this risk goes back to normal after 10 years of stopping the medicine.

Drugs That May Interact with Novelon

Novelon can interfere with other medications in several ways. It can be related to how the drug acts on the body or how the body acts on the drug. The interaction can make the contraception ineffective and you may get pregnant or the interaction might increase the risk of side effects.

The interaction with vitamins, supplements, and herbal products may also occur. So, you need to tell your doctor about your health condition, all the medicines that you are taking, and any special diet you are following when it is prescribed to you.

Some of the potentially serious drug interactions are:

  • Drugs that decrease the effects of Novelon: Drugs that induce the enzyme CYP3A4  such as  Rifampicin, Carbamazepine, Phenytoin, Phenobarbitol, Griseofulvin, and products with St. John’s wort can interact with the pills to reduce to its effect, resulting in contraception failure. Sometimes it can be indicated by a breakthrough bleed.

Similarly, Colesevelam is a bile acid sequestrant drug that can reduce the effectiveness of the medicine.

  • Drugs that increase the side effects associated with Novelon: CYP3A4 inhibitors such as ritonavir, ketoconazole, itraconazole, erythromycin, sodium valproate, omeprazole, cimetidine, and others. These medicines decrease the processing of Novelon and lead to an increased accumulation of drugs causing an increased risk of side effects.

Additionally, ascorbic acid and acetaminophen can also increase the risk of side effects associated with Novelon.

  • Decreasing the effects of other drugs: Novelon can sometimes interact with other medicines making them ineffective. This is particularly important to note when you are taking some long-term medicines for chronic disease. A few examples of such medicines are prednisolone, cyclosporine, theophylline, lamotrigine, and others. 

Who Should Avoid Using Novelon?

For the following conditions it is better to avoid combined oral contraceptive pills and choose other alternatives for contraception:

  • Thromboembolism or thrombophlebitis
  • History of disorders related to thromboembolism
  • A history of heart attack or stroke
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Coagulation related disorders
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus with vascular complications
  • Headache associated with focal neurological deficits
  • Prolonged immobilization following major surgery or trauma
  • A history or family history of breast cancer.
  • Carcinoma of the inner lining of the womb (endometrium) or risk of other estrogen-associated cancers
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding in which cause is not known
  • Cholestatic jaundice 
  • Severe hepatic impairment.
  • Current pregnancy
  • History of smoking
  • Hypersensitivity to any of the components of Novelon
  • Higher BMI

How Does Novelon Work?

The combined oral contraceptive pill Novelon contains estrogen in the form of Ethinyl estradiol and progesterone in the form of desogestrel. The addition of progesterone not only potentiates the contraceptive effect but also counteracts some side effects and risks such as the risk of endometrial cancer.

Novelon acts as contraception by the following mechanisms:

  • It prevents ovulation. Ovulation is the process of the release of the egg by the ovaries. The egg fertilizes with sperm for conception. So, by avoiding ovulation, conception is avoided
  • The sperm has to travel through the vagina, cervix, uterus, and fallopian tube in which the fertilization with the egg occurs. Novelon thickens the cervical mucus preventing the travel of sperm and avoiding fertilization.
  • After fertilization, the inner lining of the uterus thickens to prepare itself for implantation and growth of the embryo. Novelon thins out the uterus lining making it unsuitable for implantation and continuation of pregnancy.

Novelon Alternatives

Novelon is one of the several brands of the combination of Ethinyl estradiol and desogestrel. Similarly, progesterone and estrogen components of the pills are available in various combinations.

A few of them are listed below:

  • Ethinylestradiol/levonorgestrel
  • Ethinylestradiol/norgestimate
  • Ethinylestradiol/gestodene

Some other alternative method of contraception includes:

  • Barrier method: It includes male or female condoms, Caps, or diaphragms
  • Implants
  • Depot medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) injections
  • Intrauterine devices. 
  • Contraceptive patch
  • Intrauterine system ( Hormone treated Intrauterine device)
  • Natural methods
  • Progesterone-only pills or mini pills
  • Vaginal rings
  • Surgery involving either female sterilization ( Tubal ligation) or male sterilization (vasectomy

Herbal Alternatives To Novelon

These herbal medicines are not reliable as oral contraceptive pills. However, there are few which could work as a contraceptive

Many of these natural substances lack the clinical testing and proof necessary to recommend these products for contraception ethically.

  • Stoneseed root
  • Thistles
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Smartweed leaves
  • Rutin

Where to Buy Novelon?

When you are planning for contraception, you can visit a family planning clinic, sexual health clinic, GP clinic, or hospital. You would be thoroughly assessed and they would provide information about the options available and would recommend you the contraception best suited for you. If you are willing to use oral contraceptive pills, your doctor would make sure that you do not have any contraindications or a higher risk of serious side effects.

You must tell about your medical condition and any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking to the doctor. The doctor might also assess your general health and may send some investigations if needed.

And then you would be prescribed the medicine. They would also explain to you about the consumption of medicine. After being prescribed, you can order the pills from a pharmacy or an online drug store.

References Cited

  1. Winkler, U. H., & Sudik, R. (2009). The effects of two monophasic oral contraceptives containing 30 mcg of ethinyl estradiol and either 2 mg of chlormadinone acetate or 0.15 mg of desogestrel on lipid, hormone and metabolic parameters. Contraception, 79(1), 15-23.
  2. Lammers, P., Blumenthal, P. D., & Huggins, G. R. (1998). Developments in contraception: a comprehensive review of Desogen®(desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol). Contraception, 57(5), 1S-27S.
  3. Benagiano, G. (1989). Comparison of two monophasic oral contraceptives: gestodene/ethinyl estradiol versus desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol. International Journal of Fertility, 34, 31-39.






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