Amethia: Package Insert and Label Information

AMETHIA- ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel
Mayne Pharma Inc


Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from combination oral contraceptives (COC) use. This risk increases with age, particularly in women over 35 years of age, and with the number of cigarettes smoked. For this reason, COCs should not be used by women who are over 35 years of age and smoke. [See Contraindications (4).]


AMETHIA tablets are indicated for use by women to prevent pregnancy.


Take one tablet by mouth at the same time every day. The dosage of AMETHIA tablets is one white tablet containing levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol daily for 84 consecutive days, followed by one light blue ethinyl estradiol tablet for 7 days. To achieve maximum contraceptive effectiveness, AMETHIA tablets must be taken exactly as directed and at intervals not exceeding 24 hours.

Instruct the patient to begin taking AMETHIA tablets on the first Sunday after the onset of menstruation. If menstruation begins on a Sunday, the first white tablet is taken that day. One white tablet should be taken daily for 84 consecutive days, followed by one light blue tablet for 7 consecutive days. A non-hormonal back-up method of contraception (such as condoms or spermicide) should be used until a white tablet has been taken daily for 7 consecutive days. A scheduled period should occur during the 7 days that the light blue tablets are taken.

Begin the next and all subsequent 91-day cycles without interruption on the same day of the week (Sunday) on which the patient began her first dose of AMETHIA tablets, following the same schedule: 84 days taking a white tablet followed by 7 days taking a blue tablet. If the patient does not immediately start her next pill pack, she should protect herself from pregnancy by using a non-hormonal back-up method of contraception until she has taken a white tablet daily for 7 consecutive days. If unscheduled spotting or bleeding occurs, instruct the patient to continue on the same regimen. If the bleeding is persistent or prolonged, advise the patient to consult her healthcare provider.

For patient instructions regarding missed pills, see FDA-Approved Patient Labeling.

For postpartum women who are not breastfeeding, start AMETHIA tablets no earlier than four to six weeks postpartum due to increased risk of thromboembolism. If the patient starts on AMETHIA tablets postpartum and has not yet had a period, evaluate for possible pregnancy, and instruct her to use an additional method of contraception until she has taken a white tablet for 7 consecutive days.


AMETHIA tablets are available in Extended-Cycle Tablet Dispensers, each containing a 13-week supply of tablets: 84 white tablets, each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol, and 7 light blue tablets each containing 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol. The white tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 268 on the other side. The light blue tablets are round, flat face beveled edge, unscored tablets with WATSON on one side and 270 on the other side.


Do not prescribe AMETHIA tablets to women who are known to have the following:


5.1 Thrombotic and Other Vascular Events

Stop AMETHIA tablets if an arterial or deep venous thrombotic event occurs. Although the use of COCs increases the risk of venous thromboembolism, pregnancy increases the risk of venous thromboembolism as much or more than the use of COCs. The risk of venous thromboembolism in women using COCs is 3 to 9 per 10,000 woman-years. The excess risk is highest during the first year of use of a COC. Use of COCs also increases the risk of arterial thromboses such as strokes and myocardial infarctions, especially in women with other risk factors for these events. The risk of thromboembolic disease due to COCs gradually disappears after COC use is discontinued.

Use of AMETHIA tablets provides women with more hormonal exposure on a yearly basis than conventional monthly oral contraceptives containing the same strength synthetic estrogens and progestins (an additional 9 and 13 weeks of exposure to progestin and estrogen, respectively, per year).

If feasible, stop AMETHIA tablets at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery or other surgeries known to have an elevated risk of thromboembolism.

Start AMETHIA tablets no earlier than 4 — 6 weeks after delivery, in women who are not breastfeeding. The risk of postpartum thromboembolism decreases after the third postpartum week, whereas the risk of ovulation increases after the third postpartum week.

COCs have been shown to increase both the relative and attributable risks of cerebrovascular events (thrombotic and hemorrhagic strokes), although, in general, the risk is greatest among older (>35 years of age), and hypertensive women who also smoke. COCs also increase the risk for stroke in women with other underlying risk factors.

Oral contraceptives must be used with caution in women with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Stop AMETHIA tablets if there is unexplained loss of vision, proptosis, diplopia, papilledema, or retinal vascular lesions. Evaluate for retinal vein thrombosis immediately.

5.2 Carcinoma of the Breast and Cervix

Women who currently have or have had breast cancer should not use AMETHIA tablets because breast cancer may be hormonally sensitive.

There is substantial evidence that COCs do not increase the incidence of breast cancer. Although some past studies have suggested that COCs might increase the incidence of breast cancer, more recent studies have not confirmed such findings.

Some studies suggest that COCs are associated with an increase in the risk of cervical cancer or intraepithelial neoplasia. However, there is controversy about the extent to which these findings are due to differences in sexual behavior and other factors.

5.3 Liver Disease

Discontinue AMETHIA tablets if jaundice develops. Steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal and COC causation has been excluded.

Hepatic adenomas are associated with COC use. An estimate of the attributable risk is 3.3 cases/100,000 COC users. Rupture of hepatic adenomas may cause death through intra-abdominal hemorrhage.

Studies have shown an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in long-term (> 8 years) COC users. However, the attributable risk of liver cancers in COC users is less than one case per million users.

Oral contraceptive-related cholestasis may occur in women with a history of pregnancy-related cholestasis. Women with a history of COC-related cholestasis may have the condition recur with subsequent COC use.

5.4 Risk of Liver Enzyme Elevations with Concomitant Hepatitis C Treatment

During clinical trials with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen that contains ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, ALT elevations greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), including some cases greater than 20 times the ULN, were significantly more frequent in women using ethinyl estradiol-containing medications, such as COCs. Discontinue AMETHIA tablets prior to starting therapy with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir [see Contraindications (4)]. AMETHIA tablets can be restarted approximately 2 weeks following completion of treatment with the Hepatitis C combination drug regimen.

5.5 High Blood Pressure

For women with well-controlled hypertension, monitor blood pressure and stop AMETHIA tablets if blood pressure rises significantly. Women with uncontrolled hypertension or hypertension with vascular disease should not use COCs.

An increase in blood pressure has been reported in women taking COCs, and this increase is more likely in older women and with extended duration of use. The incidence of hypertension increases with increasing concentration of progestin.

5.6 Gallbladder Disease

Studies suggest a small increased relative risk of developing gallbladder disease among COC users.

5.7 Carbohydrate and Lipid Metabolic Effects

Carefully monitor prediabetic and diabetic women who are taking AMETHIA tablets. COCs may decrease glucose tolerance in a dose-related fashion.

Consider alternative contraception for women with uncontrolled dyslipidemias. A small proportion of women will have adverse lipid changes while on COCs.

Women with hypertriglyceridemia, or a family history thereof, may be at an increased risk of pancreatitis when using COCs.

5.8 Headache

If a woman taking AMETHIA tablets develops new headaches that are recurrent, persistent, or severe, evaluate the cause and discontinue AMETHIA tablets if indicated.

An increase in frequency or severity of migraine during COC use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason for immediate discontinuation of the COC.

5.9 Bleeding Irregularities

Unscheduled (breakthrough) bleeding and spotting sometimes occur in patients on COCs, especially during the first 3 months of use. If bleeding persists, check for causes such as pregnancy or malignancy. If pathology and pregnancy are excluded, bleeding irregularities may resolve over time or with a change to a different COC.

When prescribing AMETHIA tablets, the convenience of fewer planned menses (4 per year instead of 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting. The primary clinical trial (PSE-301) that evaluated the efficacy of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets also assessed unscheduled bleeding. The participants in the 12-month clinical trial (N=1,006) completed the equivalent of 8,681 28-day cycles of exposure and were composed primarily of women who had used oral contraceptives previously (89%) as opposed to new users (11%). A total of 82 (8.2%) of the women discontinued levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets, at least in part, due to bleeding or spotting.

Scheduled (withdrawal) bleeding and/or spotting remained fairly constant over time, with an average of 3 days of bleeding and/or spotting per each 91-day cycle. Unscheduled bleeding and unscheduled spotting decreased over successive 91-day cycles. Table 1 below presents the number of days with unscheduled bleeding in treatment cycles 1 and 4. Table 2 presents the number of days with unscheduled spotting in treatment cycles 1 and 4.

Table 1: Total Number of Days with Unscheduled Bleeding
91-Day Treatment CycleDays per 84-Day IntervalDays per 28-Day Interval
Q1=Quartile 1: 25% of women had this number of days of unscheduled bleeding Median: 50% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled bleeding Q3=Quartile 3: 75% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled bleeding
Table 2: Total Number of Days with Unscheduled Spotting
91-Day Treatment CycleDays per 84-Day IntervalDays per 28-Day Interval
Q1=Quartile 1: 25% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled spotting Median: 50% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled spotting Q3=Quartile 3: 75% of women had ≤ this number of days of unscheduled spotting

Figure 1 shows the percentage of levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethinyl estradiol tablets subjects participating in trial PSE-301 with ≥ 7 days or ≥ 20 days of unscheduled bleeding and/or spotting, or only unscheduled bleeding, during each 91-day treatment cycle.

Figure 1. Percent of Women Taking AMETHIA Tablets who Reported Unscheduled Bleeding and/or Spotting or only Unscheduled Bleeding
Figure 1
(click image for full-size original)

Amenorrhea sometimes occurs in women who are using COCs. Pregnancy should be ruled out in the event of amenorrhea. Some women may encounter amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea after stopping COCs, especially when such a condition was pre-existent.

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