Alesse and Lo Loestrin Fe (Lolo) are low dose combination contraceptives that use both estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. When used as directed, Alesse is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, while Lolo is between 96-98 percent effective.
How Do Alesse and Lolo Work?
Combination pills are the most common type of birth control pills prescribed. Combination pills use synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin.
The amount of estrogen in various combination pills vary. Pills containing less than 0.05mg are considered low dose contraceptives. Both Alesse and Lolo are low dose combination pills, as they contain 0.02 mg and 0.01 mg of estrogen, respectively.
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Alesse: Each pack of Alesse comes with either 21 or 28 tablets. The pack with 21 pills contains only active pills, while the 28 pill packet comes with 21 active pills and seven placebo pills.
When using the 21 pill pack, one pill should be taken at the same time of day, every day. When the 21 pills have all been taken, no pills should be taken for seven days. During these seven days, the user should get their menstrual period. When the seven days are complete, a new 21 pill pack should be started.
For the 28 pill pack, the 21 active tablets should be taken at the same time of day, every day. When all of the 21 pills have been taken, a placebo pill should be taken once a day, every day, in the same manner as the active tablets. The tablets in the package are labelled so that the active and inactive pills can be differentiated. During the seven days that the placebo pills are being taken, the user should get their menstrual period.
Lolo: The way that Lolo is packaged is unique when compared to Alesse. Each pack of Lolo contains 28 tablets which consist of:
- 24 active pills containing 0.01 mg of estrogen and 1 mg of progestin
- 2 active pills containing 0.01 mg of estrogen
- 2 inactive (or placebo) pills containing 75mg of ferrous fumarate (iron)
The ferrous fumarate in the placebo pills is not sufficient to treat anemia and therefore does not serve any purpose as it relates to iron deficiency
Alesse and Lolo: When taken as directed, both Alesse and Lolo prevent pregnancy by doing the following:
- Prevents ovaries from releasing an egg
- Thickens vaginal fluid, which in turn prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg
- Alters the lining of the uterus making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant within the womb
- A fertilized egg that is unable to attach to the uterus will pass through the body.
Benefits of Alesse and Lolo:
Both Alesse and Lolo are highly effective in preventing pregnancy when used as directed. Users of either form of birth control can choose to skip their periods if they wish (a doctor or medical professional’s approval/guidance is recommended.) In both cases, users should take all of their active pills. When the active pills are finished, a new pack of active pills should be taken with no breaks or placebo pills in between. For users of Alesse, the total number of active pills (in both the 21 pill pack and the 28 pill pack) is 21, and for Lolo users, the total number of active pills is 26.
As combination pills, both Alesse and Lolo share similar benefits, including the following:
- Regulates menstrual periods
- Minimizes blood loss
- Lighter shorter periods
- Less painful periods
- Acne management
- Decreased risk of ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer
Similarly, both Alesse and Lolo have similar disadvantages, including the following:
- Skin changes (acne)
- Breast tenderness
- Fluid retention
- Weight changes
- Spotting between periods (in the early months of use)
- May raise blood pressure
Contact your doctor or medical professional if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Mood changes (depression)
- Breast lumps
- Severe stomach pain
- Continuous spotting, sudden heavy bleeding
- Dark coloured urine
How Do I Get Alesse or Lolo?
A visit to your doctor or medical professional is required, as both Alesse and Lolo require a prescription from a doctor or medical professional. During this visit, your doctor or medical professional will be able to review your medical history as well as any other medications you may be taking.
Both Alesse and Lolo have their advantages and disadvantages. Selecting one over the other is a personal choice that should be made after consulting with your healthcare professional. Whether you choose Alesse, Lolo, or any other method of birth control, be sure to reach out to PocketPills and speak to us about how we can help make using birth control an easier experience.