PRECAUTIONS 1. General Patients should be counseled that this product does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases. 2. Physical Examination and Follow Up It is good medical practice for all women to have annual history and physical examinations, including women using oral contraceptives. The physical examination, however, may be deferred until after initiation of oral contraceptives if requested by the woman and judged appropriate by the clinician. The physical examination should include special reference to blood pressure, breasts, abdomen and pelvic organs, including cervical cytology, and relevant laboratory tests. In case of undiagnosed, persistent or recurrent abnormal vaginal bleeding, appropriate measures should be conducted to rule out malignancy. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer or who have breast nodules should be monitored with particular care. 3. Lipid Disorders Women who are being treated for hyperlipidemias should be followed closely if they elect to use oral contraceptives. Some progestogens may elevate LDL levels and may render the control of hyperlipidemias more difficult. 4. Liver Function If jaundice develops in any woman receiving such drugs, the medication should be discontinued. Steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with impaired liver function. 5. Fluid Retention Oral contraceptives may cause some degree of fluid retention. They should be prescribed with caution, and only with careful monitoring, in patients with conditions which might be aggravated by fluid retention. 6. Emotional Disorders Women with a history of depression should be carefully observed and the drug discontinued if depression recurs to a serious degree. 7. Contact Lenses Contact lens wearers who develop visual changes or changes in lens tolerance should be assessed by an ophthalmologist. 8. Drug Interactions Consult the labeling of concurrently-used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with hormonal contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations. Effects of Other Drugs on Combined Hormonal Contraceptives Substances decreasing the plasma concentrations of COCs and potentially diminishing the efficacy of COCs: Drugs or herbal products that induce certain enzymes, including cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), may decrease the plasma concentrations of COCs and potentially diminish the effectiveness of CHCs or increase breakthrough bleeding. Some drugs or herbal products that may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives include phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, bosentan, felbamate, griseofulvin, oxcarbazepine, rifampicin, topiramate, rifabutin, rufinamide, aprepitant, and products containing St. John's wort. Interactions between hormonal contraceptives and other drugs may lead to breakthrough bleeding and/or contraceptive failure. Counsel women to use an alternative method of contraception or a back-up method when enzyme inducers are used with CHCs, and to continue back-up contraception for 28 days after; discontinuing the enzyme inducer to ensure contraceptive reliability. Substances increasing the plasma concentrations of COCs: Co-administration of atorvastatin or rosuvastatin and certain COCs containing EE increase AUC values for EE by approximately 20-25%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen may increase plasma EE concentrations, possibly by inhibition of conjugation. CYP3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole, voriconazole, fluconazole, grapefruit juice, or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone concentrations. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ Hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors: Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma concentrations of estrogen and/or progestin have been noted in some cases of co-administration with HIV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., nelfinavir, ritonavir, darunavir/ritonavir, (fos)amprenavir/ritonavir, lopinavir/ritonavir, and tipranavir/ritonavir] or increase [e.g., indinavir and atazanavir/ritonavir]) /HCV protease inhibitors (decrease [e.g., boceprevir and telaprevir]) or with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (decrease [e.g.,nevirapine] or increase [e.g., etravirine]). Colesevelam: Colesevelam, a bile acid sequestrant, given together with a combination oral hormonal contraceptive, has been shown to significantly decrease the AUC of EE. A drug interaction between the contraceptive and colesevelam was decreased when the two drug products were given 4 hours apart. Effects of Combined Hormonal Contraceptives on Other Drugs COCs containing EE may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds (e.g., cyclosporine, prednisolone, theophylline, tizanidine, and voriconazole) and increase their plasma concentrations. COCs have been shown to decrease plasma concentrations of acetaminophen, clofibric acid, morphine, salicylic acid, temazepam and lamotrigine. Significant decrease in plasma concentration of lamotrigine has been shown, likely due to induction of lamotrigine glucuronidation. This may reduce seizure control; therefore, dosage adjustments of lamotrigine may be necessary. Women on thyroid hormone replacement therapy may need increased doses of thyroid hormone because serum concentrations of thyroid-binding globulin increases with use of COCs. 9. Interactions With Laboratory Tests Certain endocrine and liver function tests and blood components may be affected by oral contraceptives: Increased prothrombin and factors VII, VIII, IX, and X; decreased antithrombin 3; increased norepinephrine-induced platelet aggregability. Increased thyroid binding globulin (TBG) leading to increased circulating total thyroid hormone, as measured by protein-bound iodine (PBI), T4 by column or by radioimmunoassay. Free T3 resin uptake is decreased, reflecting the elevated TBG, free T4 concentration is unaltered. Other binding proteins may be elevated in serum. Sex hormone binding globulins are increased and result in elevated levels of total circulating sex steroids; however, free or biologically active levels either decrease or remain unchanged. Triglycerides may be increased and levels of various other lipids and lipoproteins may be affected. Glucose tolerance may be decreased. Serum folate levels may be depressed by oral contraceptive therapy. This may be of clinical significance if a woman becomes pregnant shortly after discontinuing oral contraceptives. 10. Carcinogenesis See WARNINGS . 11. Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects Pregnancy Category X See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS . 12. Nursing Mothers Small amounts of oral contraceptive steroids have been identified in the milk of nursing mothers and a few adverse effects on the child have been reported, including jaundice and breast enlargement. In addition, combination oral contraceptives given in the postpartum period may interfere with lactation by decreasing the quantity and quality of breast milk. If possible, the nursing mother should be advised not to use combination oral contraceptives but to use other forms of contraception until she has completely weaned her child. 13. Pediatric Use Safety and efficacy of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets 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. There was no significant difference between norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets and placebo in mean change in total lumbar spine (L1-L4) and total hip bone mineral density between baseline and Cycle 13 in 123 adolescent females with anorexia nervosa in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, one-year treatment duration clinical trial for the Intent To Treat (ITT) population. Use of this product before menarche is not indicated. 14. Geriatric Use This product has not been studied in women over 65 years of age and is not indicated in this population.