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Sprintec is a prescription birth control medication used to prevent pregnancy. Sprintec contains two hormones, norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol, which belong to a group of drugs called hormonal contraceptives. These hormones prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation and by altering cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus to prevent sperm from entering.
This medication comes in tablet form and is taken once daily, with or without food.
Common side effects of Sprintec include nausea, breast tenderness, and vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods.
What is Sprintec (ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate)?
Ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate is a combination drug that contains female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
Ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy.
Ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking birth control pills?
Taking birth control pills can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of taking birth control pills. Your risk is also high when you restart birth control pills after not taking them for 4 weeks or longer.
Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Your risk increases the older you are and the more you smoke. You should not take combination birth control pills if you smoke and are over 35 years old.
Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop taking this medicine and tell your doctor if you become pregnant, or if you miss two menstrual periods in a row. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least 4 weeks before taking birth control pills.
You should not take birth control pills if you have:
untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
heart disease (coronary artery disease, uncontrolled heart valve disorder, history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot);
unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor;
problems with your eyes, kidneys or circulation caused by diabetes;
a history of hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer;
a history of jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills; or
severe migraine headaches (with aura, numbness, weakness, or vision changes).
To make sure birth control pills are safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease, high blood pressure;
high cholesterol or triglycerides;
a history of depression;
liver or kidney disease;
seizures or epilepsy;
a history of irregular menstrual cycles; or
a history of fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, nodules, or an abnormal mammogram.
The hormones in birth control pills can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. This medication may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast feeding a baby.
Precautions While Using Sprintec
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and does not cause unwanted effects. These visits will usually be every 6 to 12 months, but some doctors require them more often. Your doctor may also want to check your blood pressure while taking this medicine.
Although you are using this medicine to prevent pregnancy, you should know that using this medicine while you are pregnant could harm the unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away. Make sure your doctor knows if you have had a baby within 4 weeks before you start using this medicine.
Vaginal bleeding of various amounts may occur between your regular menstrual periods during the first 3 months of use. This is sometimes called spotting when slight, or breakthrough bleeding when heavier.
- If this should occur, continue with your regular dosing schedule.
- The bleeding usually stops within 1 week. Check with your doctor if the bleeding continues for more than 1 week.
- If the bleeding continues after you have been taking hormonal contraceptives on schedule and for more than 3 months, check with your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you miss a menstrual period. Missed periods may occur if you skip one or more tablets and have not taken your pills exactly as directed. If you miss two periods in a row, talk to your doctor. You might need a pregnancy test.
If you suspect that you may be pregnant, stop taking this medicine immediately and check with your doctor.
Do not use this medicine if you smoke cigarettes or if you are over 35 years of age. If you smoke while using birth control pills, you increase your risk of having a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke. Your risk is even higher if you are over age 35, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Talk with your doctor about ways to stop smoking. Keep your diabetes under control. Ask your doctor about diet and exercise to control your weight and blood cholesterol level.
Using this medicine may increase your risk of having blood clotting problems. Check with your doctor right away if you have pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves, difficulty with breathing, a sudden, severe headache, slurred speech, a sudden, unexplained shortness of breath, a sudden unexplained shortness of breath, a sudden loss of coordination, or vision changes while using this medicine.
Using this medicine may increase your risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer. Talk with your doctor about this risk. Check with your doctor immediately if your experience abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Check with your doctor immediately if you wear contact lenses or if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want an eye doctor to check your eyes.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, dark urine or pale stools, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Using this medicine may increase your risk for gallbladder surgery. Talk with your doctor about this risk.
This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds. Tell your doctor if you have a history dark patches of skin around the forehead, nose, cheeks, and around the mouth, especially during pregnancy.
Check with your doctor before refilling an old prescription, especially after a pregnancy. You will need another physical examination and your doctor may change your prescription.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. The results of some medical tests may be affected by this medicine. You may also need to stop using this medicine at least 4 weeks before and 2 weeks after having major surgery.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may change the amount of this medicine that is absorbed in the body.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Sprintec?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Sprintec. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- This medicine may raise the chance of blood clots, a stroke, or a heart attack. Talk with the doctor.
- Talk with your doctor if you will need to be still for long periods of time like long trips, bedrest after surgery, or illness. Not moving for long periods may raise your chance of blood clots.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This medicine may raise blood sugar.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- Have your blood pressure checked often. Talk with your doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Be sure to have regular breast exams and gynecology check-ups. Your doctor will tell you how often to have these. You will also need to do breast self-exams as your doctor has told you. Talk with your doctor.
- If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take this medicine.
- Certain drugs, herbal products, or health problems could cause Sprintec to not work as well. Be sure your doctor knows about all of your drugs and health problems.
- This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
- Do not use in children who have not had their first menstrual period.
- If you have any signs of pregnancy or if you have a positive pregnancy test, call your doctor right away.
How do I store and/or throw out Sprintec?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
Sprintec Dosage and Administration
How to Start Sprintec
Sprintec is dispensed in a blister pack tablet dispenser [see How Supplied/Storage and Handling (Table 1). For the first cycle of a Sunday Start regimen, an additional method of contraception should be used until after the first 7 consecutive days of administration.
How to Take Sprintec
Table 1: Instructions for Administration of Sprintec
Starting COCs in women not currently using hormonal contraception (Day 1 Start or Sunday Start)
Important: Consider the possibility of ovulation and conception prior to initiation of this product.
Tablet Color:• Sprintec active tablets are blue (Day 1 to Day 21). • Sprintec has white inactive tablets (Day 22 to Day 28).
Day 1 Start:• Take first active tablet without regard to meals on the first day of menses. • Take subsequent active tablets once daily at the same time each day for a total of 21 days. • Take one white inactive tablet daily for 7 days and at the same time of day that active tablets were taken. • Begin each subsequent pack on the same day of the week as the first cycle pack (i.e., on the day after taking the last inactive tablet)
Sunday Start:• Take first active tablet without regard to meals on the first Sunday after the onset of menses. Due to the potential risk of becoming pregnant, use additional non-hormonal contraception (such as condoms and spermicide) for the first seven days of the patient’s first cycle pack of Sprintec. • Take subsequent active tablets once daily at the same time each day for a total of 21 days. • Take one white inactive tablet daily for the following 7 days and at the same time of day that active tablets were taken. • Begin each subsequent pack on the same day of the week as the first cycle pack (i.e., on the Sunday after taking the last inactive tablet) and additional non-hormonal contraceptive is not needed.
Switching to Sprintec from another oral contraceptive
Start on the same day that a new pack of the previous oral contraceptive would have started.
Switching from another contraceptive method to Sprintec
|• Transdermal patch||• On the day when next application would have been scheduled|
|• Vaginal ring||• On the day when next insertion would have been scheduled|
|• Injection||• On the day when next injection would have been scheduled|
|• Intrauterine contraceptive||• On the day of removal • If the IUD is not removed on first day of the patient’s menstrual cycle, additional non-hormonal contraceptive (such as condoms and spermicide) is needed for the first seven days of the first cycle pack.|
|• Implant||• On the day of removal|
Complete instructions to facilitate patient counseling on proper tablet usage are located in the FDA-Approved Patient Labeling.
Starting Sprintec after Abortion or Miscarriage
First-trimester• After a first-trimester abortion or miscarriage, Sprintec may be started immediately. An additional method of contraception is not needed if Sprintec is started immediately. • If Sprintec is not started within 5 days after termination of the pregnancy, the patient should use additional non-hormonal contraception (such as condoms and spermicide) for the first seven days of her first cycle pack of Sprintec.
Second-trimester• Do not start until 4 weeks after a second-trimester abortion or miscarriage, due to the increased risk of thromboembolic disease. Start Sprintec, following the instructions in Table 1 for Day 1 or Sunday start, as desired. If using Sunday start, use additional non-hormonal contraception (such as condoms and spermicide) for the first seven days of the patient’s first cycle pack of Sprintec. [See Contraindications (4), Warnings and Precautions (5.1), and FDA-Approved Patient Labeling.]
Starting Sprintec after Childbirth• Do not start until 4 weeks after delivery, due to the increased risk of thromboembolic disease. Start contraceptive therapy with Sprintec following the instructions in Table 1 for women not currently using hormonal contraception. • Sprintec is not recommended for use in lactating women [see Use in Specific Populations (8.3)]. • If the woman has not yet had a period postpartum, consider the possibility of ovulation and conception occurring prior to use of Sprintec. [See Contraindications (4), Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Use in Specific Populations (8.1 and 8.3), and FDA-Approved Patient Labeling].
There are two ways to start taking birth-control pills, Sunday Start or Day 1 Start. Your healthcare professional will tell you which to use.
How to Use Blister Cards for the 28 Tablets1. Pick the Days of the Week Sticker that starts the first day of your period. (This is the day you begin bleeding or spotting, even if it is midnight when bleeding begins.) When you have picked the right sticker, throw away the others and place the sticker on the blister card over the pre-printed days of the week and make sure it lines up with the pills. 2. Your blister package consists of three parts, the foil pouch, wallet, and a blister pack containing 28 individually sealed pills. Note that the pills are arranged in four numbered rows of 7 pills, with the pre-printed days of the week printed above them. All 21 blue pills are “active” birth-control pills, and 7 white “reminder” pills. Refer to the sample of the blister card below: 3. After taking the last white pill, start a new blister card the very next day no matter when your period started. You will be taking a pill every day without interruption. Any time you start the pills later than directed, protect yourself by using another method of birth control until you have taken a pill a day for seven consecutive days. After taking the last white pill, start taking the first blue pill from the blister card the very next day. 4. Take the pills in each new package as before. Start with the blue pill on row #1 and take one pill each day, left to right, until the last white pill has been taken.
Three Ways to Remember in What Order to Take the Pills1. Follow the sticker with the days of the week (placed above the pills). 2. Always go from left to right. 3. Always finish all your blue pills.
Table 2: Instructions for Missed Sprintec Tablets
|• If one active tablet is missed in Weeks 1, 2, or 3|| |
Take the tablet as soon as possible. Continue taking one tablet a day until the pack is finished.
|• If two active tablets are missed in Week 1 or Week 2|| |
Take the two missed tablets as soon as possible and the next two active tablets the next day. Continue taking one tablet a day until the pack is finished. Additional non-hormonal contraception (such as condoms and spermicide) should be used as back-up if the patient has sex within 7 days after missing tablets.
|• If two active tablets are missed in the third week or three or more active tablets are missed in a row in Weeks 1, 2, or 3|| |
Day 1 start: Throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that same day.
Sunday start: Continue taking one tablet a day until Sunday, then throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack that same day.
Additional non-hormonal contraception (such as condoms and spermicide) should be used as back-up if the patient has sex within 7 days after missing tablets.
Advice in Case of Gastrointestinal Disturbances
In case of severe vomiting or diarrhea, absorption may not be complete and additional contraceptive measures should be taken. If vomiting or diarrhea occurs within 3 to 4 hours after taking an active tablet, handle this as a missed tablet [see FDA-Approved Patient Labeling].
The following serious adverse reactions with the use of COCs are discussed elsewhere in labeling:• Serious cardiovascular events and stroke [see Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)] • Vascular events [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)] • Liver disease [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
Adverse reactions commonly reported by COC users are:• Irregular uterine bleeding • Nausea • Breast tenderness • Headache
Clinical Trial Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
The safety of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol was evaluated in 1,647 healthy women of child-bearing potential who participated in 3 clinical trials and received at least 1 dose of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol for contraception. Two trials were randomized active-controlled trials and 1 was an uncontrolled open-label trial. In all 3 trials, subjects were followed for up to 24 cycles.
Common Adverse Reactions (≥ 2% of subjects): The most common adverse reactions reported by at least 2% of the 1,647 women were the following in order of decreasing incidence: headache/migraine (32.9%), abdominal/gastrointestinal pain (7.8%), vaginal infection (8.4%), genital discharge (6.8%), breast issues (including breast pain, discharge, and enlargement) (6.3%), mood disorders (including depression and mood altered) (5%), flatulence (3.2%), nervousness (2.9%), and rash (2.6%).
Adverse Reactions Leading to Study Discontinuation: Over the three trials, between 11 to 21% of subjects discontinued the trial due to an adverse reaction. The most common adverse reactions (≥1%) leading to discontinuation were: metrorrhagia (6.9%), nausea/vomiting (5%), headache (4.1%), mood disorders (including depression and mood altered) (2.4%), premenstrual syndrome (1.7%), hypertension (1.4%), breast pain (1.4%), nervousness (1.3%), amenorrhea (1.1%), dysmenorrhea (1.1%), weight increased (1.1%), and flatulence (1.1%).
Serious Adverse Reactions: breast cancer (1 subject), mood disorders including depression, irritability, and mood swings (1 subject), myocardial infarction (1 subject), and venous thromboembolic events including pulmonary embolism (1 subject) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (1 subject).
The following additional adverse drug reactions have been reported from worldwide postmarketing experience with norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Infections and Infestations: Urinary tract infection;
Neoplasms Benign, Malignant and Unspecified (Incl. Cysts and Polyps): Breast cancer, benign breast neoplasm, hepatic adenoma, focal nodular hyperplasia, breast cyst;
Immune System Disorders: Hypersensitivity;
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders: Dyslipidemia;
Psychiatric Disorders: Anxiety, insomnia;
Nervous System Disorders: Syncope, convulsion, paresthesia, dizziness;
Eye Disorders: Visual impairment, dry eye, contact lens intolerance;
Ear and Labyrinth Disorders: Vertigo;
Cardiac Disorders: Tachycardia, palpitations;
Vascular Events: Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, retinal vascular thrombosis, hot flush;
Arterial Events: Arterial thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident;
Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders: Dyspnea;
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Pancreatitis, abdominal distension, diarrhea, constipation;
Hepatobiliary Disorders: Hepatitis;
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders: Angioedema, erythema nodosum, hirsutism, night sweats, hyperhidrosis, photosensitivity reaction, urticaria, pruritus, acne;
Musculoskeletal, Connective Tissue, and Bone Disorders: Muscle spasms, pain in extremity, myalgia, back pain;
Reproductive System and Breast Disorders: Ovarian cyst, suppressed lactation, vulvovaginal dryness;
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions: Chest pain, asthenic conditions.
Consult the labeling of concurrently used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.
No drug-drug interaction studies were conducted with Sprintec.
Effects of Other Drugs on Combined Oral Contraceptives
Substances decreasing the plasma concentrations of COCs:
Drugs or herbal products that induce certain enzymes, including cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), may decrease the plasma concentrations of COCs and potentially diminish the effectiveness of COCs or increase breakthrough bleeding. Some drugs or herbal products that may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives include phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, bosentan, felbamate, griseofulvin, oxcarbazepine, rifampicin, topiramate, rifabutin, rufinamide, aprepitant, and products containing St. John’s wort. Interactions between hormonal contraceptives and other drugs may lead to breakthrough bleeding and/or contraceptive failure. Counsel women to use an alternative method of contraception or a back-up method when enzyme inducers are used with COCs, and to continue back-up contraception for 28 days after discontinuing the enzyme inducer to ensure contraceptive reliability.
Colesevelam: Colesevelam, a bile acid sequestrant, given together with a COC, has been shown to significantly decrease the AUC of EE. The drug interaction between the contraceptive and colesevelam was decreased when the two drug products were given 4 hours apart.
Substances increasing the plasma concentrations of COCs:
Co-administration of atorvastatin or rosuvastatin and certain COCs containing ethinyl estradiol (EE) increase AUC values for EE by approximately 20 to 25%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen may increase plasma EE concentrations, possibly by inhibition of conjugation. CYP3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole, voriconazole, fluconazole, grapefruit juice, or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone concentrations.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/Hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors:
Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma concentrations of estrogen and/or progestin have been noted in some cases of co-administration with HIV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., nelfinavir, ritonavir, darunavir/ritonavir, (fos)amprenavir/ritonavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, and tipranavir/ritonavir] or increase [e.g., indinavir and atazanavir/ritonavir])/HCV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., boceprevir and telaprevir]) or with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (decrease [e.g., nevirapine] or increase [e.g., etravirine]).
Effects of Combined Oral Contraceptives on Other Drugs• COCs containing EE may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds (e.g., cyclosporine, prednisolone, theophylline, tizanidine, and voriconazole) and increase their plasma concentrations. • COCs have been shown to decrease plasma concentrations of acetaminophen, clofibric acid, morphine, salicylic acid, temazepam and lamotrigine. Significant decrease in plasma concentration of lamotrigine has been shown, likely due to induction of lamotrigine glucuronidation. This may reduce seizure control; therefore, dosage adjustments of lamotrigine may be necessary. Women on thyroid hormone replacement therapy may need increased doses of thyroid hormone because the serum concentration of thyroid-binding globulin increases with use of COCs.
Interference with Laboratory Tests
The use of contraceptive steroids may influence the results of certain laboratory tests, such as coagulation factors, lipids, glucose tolerance, and binding proteins.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Patient Information and Instructions for Use).
Counsel patients about the following information:• Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from COC use, and that women who are over 35 years old and smoke should not use COCs [see Boxed Warning]. • Increased risk of VTE compared to non-users of COCs is greatest after initially starting a COC or restarting (following a 4-week or greater pill-free interval) the same or a different COC [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. • Sprintec does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections. • Sprintec is not to be used during pregnancy; if pregnancy occurs during use of Sprintec instruct the patient to stop further use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)]. • Take one tablet daily by mouth at the same time every day. Instruct patients what to do in the event tablets are missed [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. • Use a back-up or alternative method of contraception when enzyme inducers are used with Sprintec [see Drug Interactions (7.1)]. • COCs may reduce breast milk production; this is less likely to occur if breastfeeding is well established [see Use in Specific Populations (8.3)]. • Women who start COCs postpartum, and who have not yet had a period, should use an additional method of contraception until they have taken an active tablet for 7 consecutive days [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. • Amenorrhea may occur. Consider pregnancy in the event of amenorrhea at the time of the first missed period. Rule out pregnancy in the event of amenorrhea in two or more consecutive cycles [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA, INC.
North Wales, PA 19454
Rev. D 4/2016