PRECAUTIONS 1. General. Patients should be counseled that oral contraceptives do not protect against transmission of HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis. 2. Physical examination and followup. It is considered good medical practice for sexually active women using oral contraceptives to have annual history and physical examinations. The physical examination may be deferred until after initiation of oral contraceptives if requested by the woman and judged appropriate by the clinician. 3. Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Some users may experience slight deterioration in glucose tolerance, with increases in plasma insulin, but women with diabetes mellitus who use progestin-only oral contraceptives do not generally experience changes in their insulin requirements. Nonetheless, prediabetic and diabetic women in particular should be carefully monitored while taking POPs. Lipid metabolism is occasionally affected in that HDL, HDL2, and apolipoprotein A-I and A-II may be decreased; hepatic lipase may be increased. There is no effect on total cholesterol, HDL3, LDL, or VLDL. 4. Drug interactions. Change in contraceptive effectiveness associated with co-administration of other products: a. Anti-infective agents and anticonvulsants. Contraceptive effectiveness may be reduced when hormonal contraceptives are co-administered with antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and other drugs that increase the metabolism of contraceptive steroids. This could result in unintended pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding. Examples include rifampin, barbiturates, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, and griseofulvin. b. Anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Several of the anti-HIV protease inhibitors have been studied with co-administration of oral contraceptives; significant changes (increase and decrease) in the plasma levels of the estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases. The safety and efficacy of OC products may be affected with the co-administration of anti-HIV protease inhibitors. Health care providers should refer to the label of the individual anti-HIV protease inhibitors for further drug-drug interaction information. c. Herbal products. Herbal products containing St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) may induce hepatic enzymes (cytochrome P450) and p-glycoprotein transporter and may reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive steroids. This may also result in breakthrough bleeding. 5. Interactions with laboratory tests. The following endocrine tests may be affected by progestin-only oral contraceptive use: Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations may be decreased. Thyroxine concentrations may be decreased, due to a decrease in thyroid binding globulin (TBG). 6. Carcinogenesis. See WARNINGS section. 7. Pregnancy. Many studies have found no effects on fetal development associated with long-term use of contraceptive doses of oral progestins. The few studies of infant growth and development that have been conducted have not demonstrated significant adverse effects. It is nonetheless prudent to rule out suspected pregnancy before initiating any hormonal contraceptive use. 8. Nursing mothers. Small amounts of progestin pass into the breast milk, resulting in steroid levels in infant plasma of 1-6% of the levels of maternal plasma.6 However, isolated post-market cases of decreased milk production have been reported in POPs. Very rarely, adverse effects in the infant/child have been reported, including jaundice. 9. Fertility following discontinuation. The limited available data indicate a rapid return of normal ovulation and fertility following discontinuation of progestin-only oral contraceptives. 10. Headache/Migraine. If you have a headache or a worsening migraine headache with a new pattern that is recurrent, persistent, or severe, this requires discontinuation of oral contraceptives and evaluation of the cause. 11. Gastrointestinal. Diarrhea and/or vomiting may reduce hormone absorption resulting in decreased serum concentrations. 12. Pediatric use. Safety and efficacy of Nora-BE have been established in women of reproductive age. Safety and efficacy are expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents under the age of 16 and for users 16 years and older. Use of this product before menarche is not indicated. INFORMATION FOR THE PATIENT 1. See PATIENT LABELING for detailed information. 2. Counseling issues. The following points should be discussed with prospective users before prescribing progestin-only oral contraceptives: The necessity of taking pills at the same time every day, including throughout all bleeding episodes. The need to use a backup method such as condoms and spermicides for the next 48 hours whenever a progestin-only oral contraceptive is taken 3 or more hours late. The potential side effects of progestin-only oral contraceptives, particularly menstrual irregularities. The need to inform the clinician of prolonged episodes of bleeding, amenorrhea or severe abdominal pain. The importance of using a barrier method in addition to progestin-only oral contraceptives if a woman is at risk of contracting or transmitting STDs/HIV.