Birth control pills overdose

Definition 
Birth control poisoning is an overdose of oral contraceptive pills.

Poisonous Ingredient  
Most birth control pills fall under one of the following combinations of estrogen and progestin:

     
  • Ethynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol  
  • Ethynodiol diacetate and mestranol  
  • Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol  
  • Norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol  
  • Norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol  
  • Mestranol and norethindrone  
  • Mestranol and norethynodrel  
  • Norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol

Some birth control pills contain progestin only, such as:

     
  • Norethindrone  
  • Norgestrel

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found  

     
  • Ethinyl estradiol and ethynodiol diacetate (Demulen)  
  • Mestranol and ethynodiol diacetate (Ovulen)  
  • Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (Nordette, Tri- Levlen, Triphasil)  
  • Norethindrone (Micronor, Nor-Q.D.)  
  • Norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol (Loestrin, Norlestrin)  
  • Norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol (Brevicon, Ortho-Novum 1/35, Modicon, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ovcon)  
  • Mestranol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/50)  
  • Mestranol and norethynodrel (Enovid)  
  • Norgestrel (Ovrette)  
  • Norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (Lo/Ovral, Ovral)

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms  

     
  • Body as a whole       o Excessive vaginal bleeding       o Breast tenderness       o Discoloration of urine  
  • Skin       o Rash  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Nausea and vomiting  
  • Nervous system       o Headache       o Drowsiness       o Mental changes

Home Treatment  
Discontinue the birth control pills. The poisoning is unlikely to be life threatening, but if an overdose has occurred call Poison Control for further instructions.

Before Calling Emergency  
Determine the following information:

     
  • Patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • When it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed  
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control, or a local emergency number  
Call Poison Control or your local emergency number - they will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control Centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room  

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • Inducing vomiting  
  • Treating the symptoms

Note: A trip to the emergency room will probably not be necessary.

Expectations (prognosis)
 
Serious symptoms are very unlikely.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.