• Generic Name: norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol
  • Brand Name: Loestrin 24 Fe
  • Drug Class: Contraceptives, Oral, Estrogens/Progestins
Last updated on MDtodate: 10/7/2022


The following serious adverse reactions with the use of COCs are discussed elsewhere in the labeling:

  • Serious cardiovascular events and stroke
  • Vascular events
  • Liver disease

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 the rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The safety of LOESTRIN 24 Fe was evaluated in 743 subjects who participated in an open-label, randomized, active-controlled, multicenter clinical trial of LOESTRIN 24 Fe for contraception. This trial examined healthy, non-pregnant volunteers aged 18 to 45 years, who were sexually active and had a body mass index of ≤ 35 kg/m². Subjects were followed for up to six 28-day cycles providing a total of 3,823 treatment-cycles of exposure.

Common Adverse Reactions ( ≥ 2% of all subjects)The most common adverse reactions reported by at least 2% of the 743 women using LOESTRIN 24 Fe were the following, in order of decreasing incidence: headache (6.3%), vaginal candidiasis (6.1%), nausea (4.6%), menstrual cramps (4.4%), breast tenderness (3.4%), mood changes (including mood swings (2.2%) and depression (1.1%)), bacterial vaginitis (3.1%), acne (2.7%), and weight gain (2.0%).

Adverse Reactions Leading to Study Discontinuation: Among the 743 women using LOESTRIN 24 Fe, 46 women (6.2%) withdrew because of an adverse event. Adverse events occurring in 3 or more subjects leading to discontinuation of treatment were, in decreasing order: abnormal bleeding (0.9%), nausea (0.8%), mood changes (0.8%), menstrual cramps (0.4%), increased blood pressure (0.4%), and irregular bleeding (0.4%).

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of LOESTRIN 24 Fe. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is difficult to reliably estimate their frequency or evaluate a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cardiovascular: chest pain, palpitations, tachycardiaangina pectoris, myocardial infarction.

Endocrine disorders: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism.

Eye disorders: blurred vision, visual impairment, transient blindness, corneal thinning, change in corneal curvature (steepening).

GI disorders: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, pancreatitis.

Hepatobiliary disorders: cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, hepatic adenoma, hemangioma of liver.

Immune system disorders: anaphylactic reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, and severe reactions with respiratory and circulatory symptoms.

Infections: vaginal infection.

Metabolism and nutrition disorders: change in weight or appetite (increase or decrease). hypoglycemia, diabetes mellitus, anemia.

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: myalgia.

Skin and subcutaneous disorders: alopecia, rash (generalized and allergic), pruritus, skin discoloration, night sweats, swelling face or lips, hirsutism, skin burning sensation, erythema multiforme, erythema nodosum, hemorrhagic eruption.

Nervous system disorders: headache, dizziness, migraine, hyperesthesia, paraesthesia, hypoaesthesia, somnolence, loss of consciousness, sensory disturbance.

Psychiatric disorders: mood swings, depression, insomnia, anxiety, suicidal ideation, panic attack, changes in libido, bipolar disorder, dissociation, homicidal ideation.

Renal and urinary disorders: pollakiuria, dysuria, cystitis-like syndrome.

Reproductive system and breast disorders: breast changes (tenderness, pain, enlargement, and secretion), premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cyst, pelvic pain, ovarian cyst ruptured, pelvic fluid collection.

Vascular disorders: hot flush, thrombosis/embolism (coronary artery, pulmonary, cerebral, deep vein), migraine, transient ischemic attack, ischemic stroke.