Levonorgestrel (Intrauterine route)
Uses of This Medicine:
Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system is a device that contains the female hormone, levonorgestrel. It is placed in the uterus (womb) where it slowly releases the hormone to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years for Skyla (TM) or up to 5 years for Mirena(R). It works by stopping a woman's egg from fully developing each month. The egg can no longer accept a sperm and fertilization (pregnancy) is prevented.
Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system is also used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in women. It works best in women who have had at least one child.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of levonorgestrel in teenage females. This medicine may be used for birth control in teenage females but is not recommended before the start of menstruation.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of levonorgestrel have not been performed in the geriatric population. This medicine is not recommended for use in elderly women.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems—
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine:
Your doctor will give you this medicine in a hospital or clinic. The intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted into your uterus.
This medicine comes with a patient information insert. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Your doctor may want to do tests to make sure you do not have an infection before putting in an IUD. The IUD is usually inserted during your monthly period or immediately after a miscarriage or an abortion in the first trimester of your pregnancy. Putting an IUD in during a monthly period also helps to make sure that you are not pregnant. You will also need to see your doctor within 4 to 12 weeks of having your IUD placed and then once a year.
Levonorgestrel IUD has a string or "tail" which is made of plastic thread. About one or two inches of this string hangs into your vagina. You cannot see this string, and it will not cause problems when you have sex. Check your IUD string every few days during the first few months that you have your IUD. After that, check the string after each monthly period. You may not be protected against pregnancy if you cannot feel the string or if you feel plastic. Do the following to check the placement of your IUD:
You will need to have your levonorgestrel-releasing IUD replaced every 3 years for Skyla(TM), or 5 years for Mirena(R), or sooner if it comes out of your uterus.
Precautions While Using This Medicine:
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 4 to 12 weeks after insertion, but some doctors require them more often.
Call your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while you are using this medicine. You may have a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy if you get pregnant while your IUD is in place. An ectopic pregnancy can be a serious and life-threatening condition. It can also cause problems that may make it harder for you to become pregnant in the future.
An IUD can slip partly or all of the way out of your uterus without you knowing it. If this happens, you will have no protection against getting pregnant or you may have an increased risk for serious problems. This is more likely during the first year that you have your IUD, but can happen at any time. Regularly checking the string of your IUD can tell you if your IUD is still in place.
You may have some blood spotting and cramping during the first few weeks after the IUD has been inserted. These symptoms should go away within a few months. Rarely, the IUD may make a hole in the wall of your uterus when it is inserted. If this happens, check with your doctor right away.
An IUD increases your risk of a serious infection of the female organs called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can be serious, even life threatening. This infection could cause scarring of the female organs, which may make it hard for you to become pregnant in the future, and can increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Call your doctor right away if you have flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, cramps, pain, bleeding, or fluid leaking from your vagina. These may be signs that you have an infection.
This device will not protect you from getting HIV/AIDS, herpes, or other sexually transmitted diseases. Tell your doctor if you or your partner begin to have sexual intercourse with other people, or you or your partner tests positive for a sexually transmitted disease. If this is a concern for you, talk with your doctor.
This medicine may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Also, this medicine may cover up signs of low blood sugar, such as a rapid pulse rate. Check with your doctor if you have these problems or if you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests.
It is important to tell your doctor that you are using this medicine before you have a medical procedure, such as magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.
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.
Side Effects of This Medicine:
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Updated: 4/4/2014
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