available in the USA (Jan. 2006)
What is Lunelle?
Lunelle is a monthly birth control shot. Lunelle can be injected into the
arm, thigh, or rear. The shot has both synthetic estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Lunelle prevents the release of an egg and thickens the cervical mucus to make
it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. It also causes the uterine lining
to become less prepared to support a fertilized egg. Lunelle is a very private
form of birth control since it cannot be seen on the body and needs no home supplies.
It does, however, require monthly visits to a clinic or pharmacy. Lunelle is about
99% effective as birth control. It does not protect against reproductive tract
infections, including HIV/AIDS.
Cautions Side Effects
Drug Interactions Danger
Missed Shots Future
Fertility Safety Availability
Further References PDF
first injection of Lunelle is usually taken during the first 5 days of a woman's
menstrual cycle. It is recommended that each
follow-up injection be taken 28-30 days after the last one. If the shot is given
after 33 days, it may not be effective. If you are unable to get your next injection
on time, you may want to use another method of birth control, like condoms and
spermicide, to prevent pregnancy. Since Lunelle requires monthly injections, you
can set up your next visit on the day that you get an injection.
Some women may not be able to take Lunelle
because of the risk of serious health problems. Women who are over 35 and smoke
or who have any of the following conditions should not take Lunelle:
- History of heart attack or stroke
- Blood clots
- Known or suspected cancer
- Known or suspected
- Liver disease
Women who are under 35 and smoke,
have migraines, gallbladder disease, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, sickle
cell disease, elective surgery, a history of blood clots, liver or heart disease
may not be able to take Lunelle. Your clinician or doctor can decide.
The most commonly reported
negative effect of Lunelle is irregular bleeding. This ranges from no bleeding
at all to heavy and unpredictable bleeding.
Weight gain and fluid retention
are also common side effects of Lunelle. Women can expect an average gain of 4
pounds per year, but the weight gain may be higher than 10 or 20 pounds.
other side effects that may occur with Lunelle are raised blood pressure, breast
tenderness, acne, change in appetite, nausea, headaches, nervousness, mood changes
or depression, change in sexual desire, dizziness, rash, or vaginal infections.
Experiencing some of these side effects may not indicate serious problems.
If you feel concerned about any of your body's reactions to Lunelle, contact the
clinic for information and options.
The effectiveness of Lunelle
is lowered when taken with certain medications, including antibiotics, barbiturates,
anti-seizure medications, and herbal medicines with St. John's Wort. If you are
taking any medications, tell your clinician. When taking medications that may
interfere with Lunelle, consider adding a backup method of birth control, like
condoms and spermicide. As with all drugs, it is useful to inform all your medical
providers if you are using hormonal birth control.
Women who experience any of
the following symptoms while taking Lunelle should call the clinic immediately:
pain or shortness of breath
problems, such as blurred vision
leg or arm pain or numbness
In addition, women who experience
difficulty sleeping, fatigue, severe changes in mood, unusually heavy vaginal
bleeding, persistent pain, pus, or bleeding at the injection site should call
you are unable to make your appointment for an injection, call the clinic for
options and instructions. You may want to use other methods of birth control until
you receive the next injection.
Women who want to become pregnant
may stop using Lunelle at any time. Some women have an immediate return to fertility.
Others may have to wait 60-90 days to have normal menstrual cycles.
The FDA approved Lunelle on October 5,
2000. While it currently appears to be safe and effective for short-term use,
its long-term risks are not known. The weight gain connected to the use of Lunelle
may be one of its negative, long-term effects. A large amount of weight gain can
affect a woman's physical and mental well-being.
In most areas, Lunelle is only offered
through clinics. In Washington State, women can ask their physician or clinician
to call a local Fred Meyer pharmacy and approve injections for a year. Women can
then receive their injections at the pharmacy instead of the clinic.
- Does not interrupt
- Easy to use.
- Does not harm future fertility.
at clinics and pharmacies in Washington State.
- Does not protect against sexually
transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
- Requires a prescription.
- Must be taken every month.
- Side effects include irregular bleeding
and weight gain.
- Less effective when taken with some drugs.
Emergency Contraception (The "Morning After" Pill - "Plan B" - "EC")
You can prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse by taking Emergency Contraception pills (Plan B). Plan B works by giving the body a short burst of synthetic hormones that disrupt the hormone patterns needed for a pregnancy to start. Some types of regular birth control pills will work. Emergency Contraception is most effective 24-48 hours after unprotected intercourse but it can work for several days.
To find a clinic, doctor or pharmacy close to you, call the nationwide Emergency Contraception Hotline at 1-800-584-9911, 24 hours a day in English or Spanish (also at 1-888-NOT-2-LATE and ec.princeton.edu).
If you already have birth control pills in your possession, ask the hotline how to use them as emergency contraception. Or call our clinics at 800-572-4223 and ask how to use the birth control pills you already have to prevent pregnancy after sex.
In Washington State you can get Plan B directly from your pharmacy without first getting a prescription from a doctor. Call ahead to make sure they have it in stock and a trained person available to give it to you.
Women's health activists are working to make Plan B available over-the-counter nationwide so that one day soon you could purchase it at your neighborhood drug store.
Some people are buying Plan B in advance (it costs around $35-50) so they will have it on hand if they need.