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Levest is a combined oral contraceptive pill that prevents unwanted pregnancies. It is one of the most effective types of contraception, and very easy to use. Levest is a kind of hormonal contraception known as "the pill." Its technical name is the combined oral contraceptive pill.
As a combined oral contraceptive Levest contains synthetic versions of progesterone and oestrogen, two sex hormones that are produced by the human body.
The main benefit of Levest is that it stops women from becoming pregnant when they don't want to be. It also leads to lighter, more regular and less painful menstruation, so it can also be used to treat heavy, painful or irregular periods.
The pills contain ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel, synthetic versions of the natural sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone respectively. These synthetic hormones override the natural menstrual cycle and make the body stop releasing eggs.
Under normal menstruation patterns, the sex hormones cause the body to release an egg from the ovaries each month. They also make the body prepare the lining of the womb for a potential pregnancy. If this egg hasn't been fertilised at the end of each month, hormone levels fall and the womb is shed as a period.
By taking a daily dose of hormones in the form of the pill, women can trick their body into thinking that ovulation has already happened. As a result no egg is released and they cannot become pregnant.
The hormones also make the mucus at the neck of the womb become thicker, making it harder for sperm to enter the womb and reach an egg. They also change the womb lining to make it less likely that a fertilized egg will implant there.
Levest is an example of a monophasic pill, which means that each tablet contains the same amount of hormones. The recommended dose is to take one tablet every day for 21 days, before a seven-day break.
This break means that hormone levels will drop and there will be a withdrawal bleed similar to a period. After seven days it is essential to start the next pack of tablets, even if a bleed is still in progress.
If the instructions are followed, protection will last during the seven-day pill-free time. Try to take the pill at the same time each day with a drink. It can be taken with or without food.
Anyone who forgets to take a pill at the regular time should take one as soon as they remember. If that is longer than 24 hours after the regular time, it counts as a missed pill.
After a missed pill you should take a tablet as soon as possible, even if that means two tablets at the same time. Continue to take the rest of the pack as normal.
If two or more pills are forgotten, take them as soon as possible even if it means taking two at once. Continue to take the rest of the pack as instructed. It’s important to also use another method of contraception during the next seven days, as there will be no protection from pregnancy. This may include condoms.
Vomiting within two hours of taking your pill means that it might not have been properly absorbed into the bloodstream. Take another pill as soon as you feel like you can and continue according to your schedule. In this case you are most likely still protected from pregnancy.
If you are vomiting for over 24 hours it may make the pill less effective. Keep taking your pill according to the schedule, but treat each day as if you have forgotten to take a tablet. Refer to the instructions in the section “What to do if a pill was forgotten.”
If you have severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may be less effective. Take your pill according to schedule, but treat each day as if you have forgotten to take a tablet. Refer to the instructions in the section “What to do for missed pills”.
Levest is a combined pill meaning it contains both oestrogen and progesterone; ethinylestradiol and levonrgestrel respectively.
There is only one dosage of Levest available, which has been tested to be the most effective. This is 0.15mg of oestrogen and 30mcg of progesterone.
As with any other medicine, Levest may cause side effects in certain people. However most people will not experience side effects. The following is a list of possible side effects: feeling or being sick; abdominal pain; headache/migraine; breast tenderness and enlargement; weight changes; retention of water in the body tissues (fluid retention); vaginal thrushÂ (candidiasis); change in menstrual bleeding, usually lighter periods or sometimes stopping of periods; menstrual spotting or breakthrough bleeding; depression; decreased sex drive; rise inÂ blood pressure; skin reactions; irregular brown patches on the skin, usually of the face (chloasma); steepening of corneal curvature, which may make contact lenses uncomfortable; disturbance in liver function; gallstones; blood clots in the blood vessels (eg, DVT, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke - see warnings above).
Levest is not advised for:
Whenever you start to take new medication, you should tell your doctor about any other medicines you take already. This includes herbal medicines and over-the-counter medicines.
You should be aware that the following medicines may make Levest less effective at preventing pregnancy:
The antibiotics rifampicin and rifabutin are known to make the pill very ineffective. However there is no evidence to suggest that other antibiotics affect the pill.
The emergency contraceptive ulipristal (Ellaone) can make the pill less effective. If you use ellaOne while you are using Levest, make sure to use an additional method of contraception for 14 days after.
The antifungal medicine griseofulvin, the weight loss medicine orlistat (Alli and Xenical), and the cholesterol medicine colesevelam also reduce the effectiveness of the pill.
Patients with diabetes should pay close attention to the effects of Levest on their blood sugar levels. Those with high blood pressure should also take precautions.
If you are taking thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism, you may need to increase your dose when you start taking Levest.
Patients with epilepsy who use lamotrigine to treat the condition should be aware that Levest can reduce its effectiveness in preventing seizures.
Levest may also increase the risk of side effects associated with the following medicines:
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