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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Progestins For Contraceptive Use

Progestins For Contraceptive Use (Systemic)

Description and Brand Names | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects

  • Contraceptive (systemic)
  • Progestational agent

Progestins (proe-JES-tins) are hormones.

The low-dose progestins for contraception are used to prevent pregnancy. Other names for progestin-only oral contraceptives are minipills and progestin-only pills (POPs). Progestins can prevent fertilization by preventing a woman's egg from fully developing.

Also, progestins cause changes at the opening of the uterus, such as thickening of the cervical mucus. This makes it hard for the partner's sperm to reach the egg. The fertilization of the woman's egg with her partner's sperm is less likely to occur while she is taking, receiving, or using a progestin, but it can occur. Even so, the progestins make it harder for the fertilized egg to become attached to the walls of the uterus, making it difficult to become pregnant.

No contraceptive method is 100 percent effective. Studies show that fewer than 1 of each 100 women become pregnant during the first year of use when correctly receiving the injection on time or receiving the levonorgestrel implants. Fewer than 10 of each 100 women correctly taking progestins by mouth for contraception become pregnant during the first year of use . Methods that do not work as well include using condoms, diaphragms, or spermicides. Discuss with your health care professional what your options are for birth control.

Progestins are available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:

  • Levonorgestrel
    • Tablets (U.S.)
  • Norethindrone
    • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Norgestrel
    • Tablets (U.S.)
  • Levonorgestrel
    • Implants (U.S. and Canada)
  • Medroxyprogesterone
    • Injection (U.S. and Canada)

Brand Names

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S. -

  • Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection 2
  • Micronor 3
  • NORPLANT System 1
  • Nor-QD 3
  • Ovrette 4
  • Plan B 1

In Canada -

  • Depo-Provera 2
  • Micronor 3
  • NORPLANT System 1

Another commonly used name is norethisterone .


For quick reference, the following progestins are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

This information applies to the following medicines
1. Levonorgestrel (LEE-voe-nor-jes-trel)
2. Medroxyprogesterone (me-DROX-ee-proe-JES-te-rone)
3. Norethindrone (nor-eth-IN-drone)
4. Norgestrel (nor-JES-trel)†
† Not commercially available in Canada


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Progestins For Contraceptive Use: Before Using

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