Mylan is a pharmaceutical company that’s now part of the healthcare company Viatris. They make brand-name and generic versions of birth control pills and patches. This article will cover the types of birth control they offer, as well as the effectiveness, side effects and risks, and costs of these medications.
We’ll also go through some frequently asked questions about birth control so that you can feel empowered with all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
Several types of birth control are manufactured by Viatris. Most are combination birth control pills, which provide both progestin and estrogen, to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is the synthetic form of progesterone, a hormone naturally produced by the body. Estrogen is another hormone naturally produced by the body.
The pills differ in the types of progestin used, the dosage of each hormone, and how they’re taken.
|Medication||Type||Hormones||Dosage levels||Considerations||Best for||How to take it|
|desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol||combination pill||progestin and estrogen||0.15 mg desogestrel, 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol, 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiol||You’ll still get your period. If you’re postpartum and not breastfeeding, you start this contraceptive 4 weeks after delivery.||People who feel comfortable taking 1 pill per day.||Take daily in 28-day cycles.|
|noethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol||combination pill||progestin and estrogen||1 mg noethindrone acetate, 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol||Recommended Sunday start, as each package is arranged in 3 rows of 7 tablets with the days of the week up top. You can change this by using the stickers provided if you’d like a different start day.||People who can remember to follow the “3 weeks on/1 week off” schedule. You’ll get your period during the week when you’re taking no pills.||Take daily in 21-day cycles, followed by a 1-week break.|
|norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol||combination pill||progestin and estrogen||1 mg norethindrone acetate, 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol, 75 mg ferrous fumarate||The hormone-free “dummy pills” contain 75 mg of ferrous fumarate, which is a form of iron. However, the medication insert maintains that these pills “do not serve any therapeutic purpose.”||People who prefer to take 1 pill per day rather than skipping a week, people who like how the “dummy pills” offer a small amount of iron.||Take daily in 28-day cycles.|
|drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol||combination pill||progestin and estrogen||3 mg drospirenone, 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol||Each package contains 3 weeks of combination pills, followed by 1 week of hormone-free pills, allowing you to get your period.||People who do not mind getting a monthly period and feel reassured taking 1 pill per day.||Take daily in 28-day cycles.|
|levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol||combination pill||progestin and estrogen||0.15 mg levonorgestrel, 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol, 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiol||Each package contains a 13-week supply of tablets. There are 84 hormonal tablets. After taking one each for 84 days, you then take a hormone-free tablet for 7 days, leading to a period.||People who want to have fewer periods every year. With 1 period every 3 months, you’ll only have 4 per year.||Take daily in 91-day cycles.|
|norethindrone||progestin-only pill||progestin||0.35 mg norethindrone||Also called the minipill, this pill works by thickening cervical mucus and thinning out the endometrial lining. There are no inactive pills; each pill contains the same dose of progestin. You may still get your period, however.||People who are able to commit to a consistent schedule. You must take this pill at the same time every day in order to prevent pregnancy. Also an option if you’re breastfeeding.||Take daily in 28-day cycles.|
|Xulane (norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol patch)||combination patch||progestin and estrogen||150 mcg norelgestromin, 35 mcg ethinyl estradiol||This is an option for people who do not want to have to take a pill daily.||Advised for those who have a BMI under 30.||Take once per week in 3-week cycles. Apply to your abdomen, upper outer arm, or back.|
As with any pharmaceutical, there are possible side effects and risks to birth control pills and patches. These can differ depending on the type and dose of hormone you’re taking.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), possible side effects of birth control pills and patches include:
In addition, if you’re using a patch, you may also experience skin irritation at the site of application.
According to ACOG, taking a combination hormonal birth control (one that includes both estrogen and progestin) slightly increases your risk of:
- deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- heart attack
Progestin-only contraceptives such as the minipill do not carry an increased risk of DVT, heart attack, and stroke. This means they may be a better option than combination pills for people with a history of these conditions, or people who are already at a higher risk of these conditions, such as people who smoke.
However, if you smoke and are over 35 years old, then a progestin-only pill is not the best choice.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history and needs if you’re considering taking birth control.
If you’re currently taking any medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, it’s important to have an open conversation with your doctor or pharmacist about possible medication interactions. These interactions may change the effectiveness of birth control.
Viatris lists potential drug interactions on the hormonal medications they offer. According to Viatris, these are some medications that their products may interact with:
- rifampin, an antibiotic
- HIV protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- St. John’s wort
Talk with your doctor about getting a birth control prescription. The type of birth control you receive will determine how soon the medication will become effective after you begin taking it.
According to Planned Parenthood:
- If you begin taking combination birth control pills within 5 days after the first day of your period, you should be protected from pregnancy if you have sex.
- If you begin taking combination pills at any other time, continue to use a barrier method while engaging in sex to prevent pregnancy.
- The progestin-only pill will become effective at preventing pregnancy within 48 hours of taking it.
When taken as directed, birth control pills and patches are very effective. Per the National Health Service (NHS), with perfect use, the combination pill is 99 percent effective. The patch also has about 99 percent effectiveness with perfect use, according to Planned Parenthood.
With typical use, such as forgetting a pill occasionally or starting a new patch late, the effectiveness is lower. According to the NHS, it’s about 91 percent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about
There are many different types of birth control. It’s best to talk with your doctor to discuss which option is right for you. This will depend on:
- your individual health concerns and risk factors
- your family planning goals
- whether you want to use a hormonal or nonhormonal option
- your lifestyle — being more comfortable with one birth control method over another, such as preferring taking a daily oral pill versus using something like an intrauterine device (IUD) that lasts for years
Here are some options you might want to consider and discuss with your doctor:
- Barrier methods. These include condoms, spermicide, diaphragms, and cervical caps.
- Hormonal contraception. There are many ways to take hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, patches, and rings. Some of these are based on a monthly cycle, when you’ll get a period each month. Others are extended cycle (one period every 3 months) or continuous (no periods). An injection is also available, which protects against pregnancy for 13 weeks.
- Fertility awareness method. This method involves tracking your cycle, basal body temperature, or cervical mucus to pinpoint fertile days. On fertile days, you either avoid sexual intercourse or use a barrier method.
- Long-acting reversible methods. These methods include both IUDs and implants. They’re considered long acting because they protect against pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type, and may or may not contain hormones. Because there’s no potential for user error, they’re more than 99 percent effective, according to Planned Parenthood.
- Sterilization. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that closes off the fallopian tubes. It’s considered a permanent type of birth control.
For any type of birth control, including the types offered by Viatris, you’ll need to get a prescription. You can get a prescription from:
- your doctor
- a local health clinic
- Planned Parenthood
- a pharmacist
- a telehealth company (depending on your state’s laws)
Once you have the prescription, there are various ways you can get it filled. They include going to your local pharmacy (or using their mail-order option) or signing up with an online service like Nurx, Hers, or Lemonaid to get birth control delivered to your home.
Is generic birth control as good as brand-name birth control?
Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
However, generic and brand-name oral contraceptives may have different packaging or use different nonactive ingredients, like preservatives and colorings.
In addition, ACOG notes that people may have different experiences with different types of oral contraceptives, as well as brand names versus generics.
Maybe the generic’s packaging is easier to understand, or you experience different side effects on the brand-name option. If you feel that you do better on brand-name or generic versions for any reason, then you and your doctor should feel free to choose the version that’s best for you — whether brand name or generic.
Does insurance cover birth control?
Yes, insurance covers birth control.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal law requires private health plans to provide coverage for 18 methods of contraception at no cost. That means you will not pay a copay or coinsurance. If you purchase your health plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace, your plan will provide free coverage for contraception.
However, that does not mean that you’ll get to choose any birth control.
While these plans are required to offer all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, they may only cover generics or certain types. For example, while legally they have to cover birth control pills, they do not have to cover every single type or brand of pill.
Be aware that there are rules that say that certain employers can exclude contraception coverage if they have a religious reason behind their choice.
How much does birth control cost?
Birth control can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per month, depending on which one you’re taking and whether insurance covers it. If you do not have health insurance, programs like Medicaid can provide payment assistance.
Does taking birth control pills cause weight gain?
This has been a question among people taking hormonal contraceptives for some time.
However, research is inconclusive, according to a 2014 Cochrane review. The review looked at studies involving two groups of people — one receiving a birth control method and one receiving a “dummy” birth control method, or placebo. Some studies showed both weight gain and loss.
Mylan is a pharmaceutical company that’s now a part of Viatris. Viatris manufactures several types of combination and progestin-only generic birth control pills, as well as Xulane, a brand-name patch.
Talk with your doctor about which type of birth control might be right for you. There are lots of options, but what’s best for you will depend on your individual health history and needs.
Jessica Migala is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, and fitness content. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two young sons, and rescue pup. Find her on LinkedIn or on Instagram.
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