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Ortho-Novum (Norethindrone / Mestranol) - Drug Interactions, Contraindications, Overdosage, etc




Changes in contraceptive effectiveness associated with co-administration of other products:

Contraceptive effectiveness may be reduced when hormonal contraceptives are co-administered with antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and other drugs that increase the metabolism of contraceptive steroids. This could result in unintended pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding. Examples include rifampin, barbiturates, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, and griseofulvin. Several cases of contraceptive failure and breakthrough bleeding have been reported in the literature with concomitant administration of antibiotics such as ampicillin and tetracyclines. However, clinical pharmacology studies investigating drug interaction between combined oral contraceptives and these antibiotics have reported inconsistent results.

Several of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors have been studied with co-administration of oral combination hormonal contraceptives; significant changes (increase and decrease) in the plasma levels of the estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases. The safety and efficacy of oral contraceptive products may be affected with co-administration of anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Healthcare professionals should refer to the label of the individual anti-HIV protease inhibitors for further drug-drug interaction information.

Herbal products containing St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) may induce hepatic enzymes (cytochrome P450) and p-glycoprotein transporter and may reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive steroids. This may also result in breakthrough bleeding.

Increase in plasma levels associated with co-administered drugs:

Co-administration of atorvastatin and certain oral contraceptives containing ethinyl estradiol increase AUC values for ethinyl estradiol by approximately 20%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen may increase plasma ethinyl estradiol levels, possibly by inhibition of conjugation. CYP 3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone levels.

Changes in plasma levels of co-administered drugs:

Combination hormonal contraceptives containing some synthetic estrogens (e.g., ethinyl estradiol) may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds. Increased plasma concentrations of cyclosporin, prednisolone, and theophylline have been reported with concomitant administration of oral contraceptives. Decreased plasma concentrations of acetaminophen and increased clearance of temazepam, salicylic acid, morphine and clofibric acid, due to induction of conjugation, have been noted when these drugs were administered with oral contraceptives.


Serious ill effects have not been reported following acute ingestion of large doses of oral contraceptives by young children. Overdosage may cause nausea, and withdrawal bleeding may occur in females.


The following non-contraceptive health benefits related to the use of combination oral contraceptives are supported by epidemiological studies which largely utilized oral contraceptive formulations containing estrogen doses exceeding 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol or 0.05 mg mestranol.73–78

Effects on menses:

  • increased menstrual cycle regularity
  • decreased blood loss and decreased incidence of iron deficiency anemia
  • decreased incidence of dysmenorrhea

Effects related to inhibition of ovulation:

  • decreased incidence of functional ovarian cysts
  • decreased incidence of ectopic pregnancies

Other effects:

  • decreased incidence of fibroadenomas and fibrocystic disease of the breast
  • decreased incidence of acute pelvic inflammatory disease
  • decreased incidence of endometrial cancer
  • decreased incidence of ovarian cancer


Oral contraceptives should not be used in women who currently have the following conditions:

  • Thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
  • A past history of deep vein thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
  • Cerebral vascular or coronary artery disease (current or history)
  • Valvular heart disease with complications
  • Severe hypertension
  • Diabetes with vascular involvement
  • Headaches with focal neurological symptoms
  • Major surgery with prolonged immobilization
  • Known or suspected carcinoma of the breast
  • Carcinoma of the endometrium or other known or suspected estrogen-dependent neoplasia
  • Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
  • Cholestatic jaundice of pregnancy or jaundice with prior pill use
  • Acute or chronic hepatocellular disease with abnormal liver function
  • Hepatic adenomas or carcinomas
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Hypersensitivity to any component of this product


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