Last update: Jan. 31, 2016

Ethinylestradiol + Levonorgestrel

Low Risk for breastfeeding


Moderately safe. Probably compatible.
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
Read the Comment.

Birth control pill that contains the combination of an estrogen (Ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (Levonorgestrel) for oral use.

Ethinylestradiol is a synthetic estrogen with similar action than estradiol. Used in combination with progestogens for contraception.
Ethinylestradiol is excreted into the breast milk in no or small amount.
There is evidence (albeit inconsistent) that estrogen-containing pills may decrease milk production, especially during the first few weeks postpartum with a daily dose above 30 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol.
It may reduce the protein content of the milk.
No problems have been observed in infants whose mothers were treated, except some cases of transient gynecomastia in infants whose mothers were receiving a higher dose than usual.

Levonorgestrel is a progestin, and active metabolite which is isomer of norgestrel, both derived from nortestosterone. It is excreted into breast milk in clinically non-significant amount and no problems have been observed in infants whose mothers were treated. The plasma levels in these infants were very low.

With other similar combined contraceptives no differences have been observed in the frequency of breastfeeding or the amount of milk produced or weight gain of breastfed infants compared to other contraceptive methods (intrauterine devices, isolated progestogens). However, it would be advisable to avoid them until breastfeeding is well established (4-6 weeks).

During lactation, progestin-only contraceptive pills are preferred to Estrogen containing ones, otherwise, the lowest estrogen dose should be used.
During the first 6 postpartum weeks, non-hormonal methods are in the first line of choice.

Hormone containing contraceptives do not affect the composition of milk, minerals (Mg, Fe, Cu, Ca, P) fat, lactose and calories but only a few the proteins.

WHO List of Essential Medicines 2002: rates it as compatible with breastfeeding.

Alternatives

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Group

Ethinylestradiol + Levonorgestrel belongs to this group or family:

Tradenames

Main tradenames from several countries containing Ethinylestradiol + Levonorgestrel in its composition:

Pharmacokinetics

Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 40 - 60 / 100 %
Molecular weight 296 / 312 daltons
Protein Binding 99 / 97 %
VD 5 / l/Kg
Tmax 2 / 1,6 hours
T1/2 18 / 24 - 45 hours
M/P ratio 0,3 / 0,4 -
Theoretical Dose 0,000045 / 0,0002 mg/Kg/d
Relative Dose 0 / 0,1 - 1 %

References

  1. Lopez LM, Grey TW, Stuebe AM, Chen M, Truitt ST, Gallo MF. Combined hormonal versus nonhormonal versus progestin-only contraception in lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Abstract
  2. Tepper NK, Phillips SJ, Kapp N, Gaffield ME, Curtis KM. Combined hormonal contraceptive use among breastfeeding women: an updated systematic review. Contraception. 2015 Abstract
  3. Bhardwaj NR, Espey E. Lactation and contraception. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Abstract
  4. Berens P, Labbok M; Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. ABM Clinical Protocol #13: Contraception During Breastfeeding, Revised 2015. Breastfeed Med. 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. WHO. Department of Reproductive Health and Research World Health Organization. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use. WHO/RHR/15.07. 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. Berens P, Labbok M; Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Protocolo clínico de la ABM n.º 13: Anticoncepción durante la lactancia, revisado en 2015. Breastfeed Med. 2015 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Mwalwanda CS, Black KI. Immediate post-partum initiation of intrauterine contraception and implants: a review of the safety and guidelines for use. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2013 Abstract
  8. Bahamondes L, Bahamondes MV, Modesto W, Tilley IB, Magalhães A, Pinto e Silva JL, Amaral E, Mishell DR Jr. Effect of hormonal contraceptives during breastfeeding on infant's milk ingestion and growth. Fertil Steril. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. CDC. Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013: adapted from the World Health Organization selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use, 2nd edition. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). U S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. [No authors listed] Intrauterine devices: an effective alternative to oral hormonal contraception. Prescrire Int. 2009 Abstract
  12. Taneepanichskul S, Reinprayoon D, Thaithumyanon P, Praisuwanna P, Tosukhowong P, Dieben T. Effects of the etonogestrel-releasing implant Implanon and a nonmedicated intrauterine device on the growth of breast-fed infants. Contraception. 2006 Abstract
  13. Díaz S. Contraceptive implants and lactation. Contraception. 2002 Abstract
  14. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  15. Reinprayoon D, Taneepanichskul S, Bunyavejchevin S, Thaithumyanon P, Punnahitananda S, Tosukhowong P, Machielsen C, van Beek A. Effects of the etonogestrel-releasing contraceptive implant (Implanon on parameters of breastfeeding compared to those of an intrauterine device. Contraception. 2000 Abstract

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