What is levonorgestrel (intravaginal) used for?
Levonorgestrel is a progestin. It may prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, altering transport of sperm or eggs to prevent fertilization, or altering the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation should fertilization occur.
Levonorgestrel is commonly used for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse or suspected birth control failure.
How should I take levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
This medication is placed inside the uterus by a health care professional.
Take levonorgestrel as soon as possible after suspected birth control failure or after you have unprotected sexual intercourse.
If vomiting occurs within 1 hour after taking either tablet of levonorgestrel, talk with your health care provider to discuss whether to repeat that dose.
How do I store levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Levonorgestrel is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store levonorgestrel in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of levonorgestrel that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush levonorgestrel down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You have more than one sexual partner or your partner has more than one partner.
- You use intravenous drugs.
- You have an unusual or allergic reaction to levonorgestrel, other hormones, silicone, or polyethylene, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
- You have pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
- You are breastfeeding.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category X, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- Fever, flu-like symptoms
- Genital sores
- High blood pressure
- No menstrual period for 6 weeks during use
- Pain, swelling, warmth in the leg
- Pelvic pain or tenderness
- Severe or sudden headache
- Signs of pregnancy
- Stomach cramping
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Trouble with balance, talking, or walking
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, discharge
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- Breast pain
- Change in sex drive or performance
- Changes in weight
- Cramping, dizziness, or faintness while the device is being inserted
- Irregular menstrual bleeding within first 3 to 6 months of use
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Levonorgestrel may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
These products may interact with this drug, including:
- Barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures
- Medicines to treat seizures like carbamazepine, ethotoin, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, topiramate
- Medicines to treat HIV infection like atazanavir, indinavir, lopinavir, nelfinavir, tipranavir, ritonavir
- John’s wort
Does food or alcohol interact with levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Levonorgestrel may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with levonorgestrel (intravaginal)?
Levonorgestrel may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Especially if you have:
- Abnormal pap smear
- Cancer of the breast, uterus, or cervix
- Genital or pelvic infection now or in the past
- Heart disease
- History of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy
- Immune system problems
- IUD in place
- Liver disease or tumor
- Problems with blood clots or take blood-thinners
- Uterus of unusual shape
- Vaginal bleeding (that has not been explained)
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using levonorgestrel (intravaginal).
What is the dose of levonorgestrel (intravaginal) for an adult?
The first dose must be taken within 72 hours. Take the second tablet 12 hours after the first tablet.
Levonorgestrel can be used any time during the menstrual cycle.
However, your doctor may instruct you to take in a different way. Follow the directions provided by your doctor.
What is the dose of levonorgestrel (intravaginal) for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is levonorgestrel (intravaginal) available?
Levonorgestrel is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- 20 microgram
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of levonorgestrel, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Levonorgestrel. https://www.drugs.com/ppa/levonorgestrel.html. Accessed December 12, 2016.
Levonorgestrel. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/levonorgestrel.html. Accessed December 12, 2016.
Review Date: March 25, 2017 | Last Modified: March 25, 2017