How to Stop Taking Loestrin 24

Doctor speaking with patient
Women should talk to a doctor before discontinuing Loestrin 24. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Loestrin 24, the brand name of the birth control medication containing the hormones ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, is over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy when used properly. Although this medication usually produces fewer side effects than many other combination birth control pills, it still may produce undesirable side effects in some women. Women can usually discontinue this medication easily, but should always talk to a doctor with any questions or concerns.

Step 1

Talk to a doctor. A woman should notify her doctor of her plans to discontinue Loestrin 24 for many reasons. If side effects are to blame, a doctor can determine if the side effects were normal or if they could indicate a potentially serious condition. If she would like to try a new birth control method, her doctor can help her find one that may be a better fit than Loestrin 24. Women interested in trying to conceive can get a preconception checkup and a prescription for prenatal vitamins.

Step 2

Stop taking the medication. Women who plan to use a non-hormonal birth control method can discontinue taking Loestrin 24 at any time during their cycles and begin using their new method of birth control immediately. Those who plan to use another hormonal birth control method can also stop taking Loestrin 24 at any time, but should use a non-hormonal birth control method to prevent pregnancy until a doctor determines that their new medication is effective. Although women who are planning to conceive a baby may discontinue the medication in the middle of a cycle, getting pregnant immediately may make it difficult for doctors to properly date the pregnancy, according to Marjorie Greenfield, M.D. and DrSpock.com contributor. Because of this, some women find it more convenient to finish their current package of Loestrin 24 and wait a few cycles before trying to conceive.

Step 3

Wait for a menstrual period. Most women get their period soon after stopping Loestrin 24. Some women, however, experience a condition called post-pill amenorrhea and do not get a menstrual period for several months, explains MayoClinic.com. Although most doctors wait for the menstrual period to return on its own, some women with post-pill amenorrhea need medical intervention to have their periods to return. Women who do not receive a period for several months should always rule out pregnancy and seek medical attention to investigate other possible causes for their lack of a period.

Tip

Many women experience side effects during the first several months of taking Loestrin 24, but many times these side effects go away as their bodies adjust to the medication. It may be wise for women to wait before deciding to switch to a new form of birth control to see if the side effects they are experiencing are temporary.

Warning

Women who had unpleasant side effects from the estrogen in Loestrin 24 should consider other low-dose combination pills or progestogen-only pills. Taking birth control medication with higher levels of estrogen may lead to more intense side effects.

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