Difference Between Ortho Tri Cyclen and Ortho Tri Cyclen Lo


Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo are both medications which prevent ovulation (and pregnancy) using female hormones. They contain ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate. These drugs also change the cervical mucus and uterine lining in a woman’s cervix. These changes make it harder for sperm to reach the female’s uterus. This prevents pregnancy. Both medications are birth control pills. The Federal Drug Administration has also approved Ortho Tri-Cyclen, as secondary use for the treatment of acne in females 15 years old or older (and having their periods regularly).

Both medications have the same ingredients. However, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo has a lower amount of estrogen than Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Though research suggests Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo is effective in the treatment of acne in teen aged females, it has not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for that purpose. Though both medications are prescribed for the prevention of pregnancy, it is suggested that a back-up form of birth control be used with them if it is the woman’s first time taking birth control pills, such as spermicide or condoms.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen

So why use one over the other? Ortho Tri-Cyclen has a higher amount of estrogen. Women sometimes complain of the medication making them moody. They also complain if heavier menstrual cycles and break-outs. Switching to the Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo has helped alleviate these problems. Other women do not see a difference in the way they feel on each of the medications. However, they have gone on record as saying, they do not want to swallow any more medication than they need to. If they can get the birth control they seek with a lower amount of estrogen, they want to do so. (Again, use back up birth control and do not attempt to change medications without your doctor) Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo seems to be closest in mimicking the natural amounts of female hormones in the body. Lighter and easier periods seem to be a big perk for going on the lower hormone dose.

Though every person is different, women who have premenstrual syndrome, swollen breast, tenderness and moodiness often opt for Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. These symptoms are often associated with hormonal issues and the lower dose of estrogen seems to at least balance things out for them. It is much the same with skin issues. If a woman has break-outs that happen (moderately to severely) around the time of her menstrual cycle, it indicates she has an abundance of female hormones. Again, the Federal Drug Administration has not approved Ortho Tri-Cyclen yet for the treatment of acne. But users of the medication have claimed clearer skin with its usage. It is important to note that women have different levels of hormones naturally so this will affect the results of the medication.

If you are pregnant or could be pregnant, do not take Ortho Tri-Cyclen or Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo even if you were preciously taking it for acne. As with any medications, you must consult your doctor about taking any medications during pregnancy.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo

You will notice there are four different colors of pills in the container of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. It is important that you consume the medication in the order in which it is presented. These medications contain different amounts of hormones in the different colors. (The final week or the white pill contains no hormone at all). This is to mimic the natural estrogen produced in the female body through-out the month. Taking them out of order not only can cause problems with the female cycle, but can render the medication ineffective for birth control. These pills are designed to be taken in order and in the exact same time of the day – every day.

Any adjustment in hormone levels can cause side effects. It is important to tell your doctor if you have any unusual or bothersome symptoms when beginning these medications. The frequency and severity of these symptoms may determine if you are to be prescribed Ortho Tri-Cyclen or the Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo. One of the most common side effects is headaches including migraines headaches. Of course one would need to report any chest or leg pains (blood clots) or symptoms of high blood pressure. But these types of side effects are much rarer. Also, many of the side effects go away on their own when the body has time to adjust to the medication.

In the early months of tanking these medications, very light or even skipped periods are not uncommon. These are usually not a sign of alarm. If you have followed the instructions given to you by your medical professional, you have a better than 99% chance of just having some physical adjustments to the medications. If you are unsure, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

There is no information to suggest that birth control pills cause breast cancer. However, women who have had breast cancer or are at high risk for getting it should talk to their doctor before taking any medications. The hormones in the Ortho Tri-Cyclen can affect existing cancer cells. If breast cancer runs in your family, you may need to be on the Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo with the lower amounts of estrogen, as a precautionary.

So, these medications are the same, but have different compositions and there are reasons why a medical professional would choose one over the other. The balance a patient requires in order to live a normal and healthy life, must be determined. Once the dosage is established and the medication has been being used for a while, it is an easy and effective solution to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.