Triregol pills are a form of hormonal contraceptive. They are combined contraceptive pills and contain the active ingredients levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol, which are synthetic versions of the naturally-occurring female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
What is Triregol?
Triregol is a hormonal contraceptive pill that belong to the family of “combined” pills, i.e. it has two active ingredients – levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol. These synthetic versions of the female sex hormones allow Triregol to control aspects of the female menstrual cycle. Pills such as this one alter the typical menstrual cycle by adjusting the levels of female sex hormones in the body. The daily amount of hormones in the pill trick the human body into believing that ovulation has already taken place, which means that eggs are not released from the ovaries. The hormones in the Triregol contraceptive pill also increase the mucus thickness around the entrance to the womb, making it harder for sperm to enter to reach an egg. In some cases, combined pills can also reduce the quality of the lining inside of the womb, so that eggs cannot implant as normal.
When is Triregol used?
Triregol is used as a contraceptive to stop women from falling pregnant following intercourse. In some cases, Triregol can also change the short-term symptoms of the menopause. As a hormonal contraceptive, Triregol can be used to help women who have particularly heavy or painful periods, as the way in which it affects the menstrual cycle can reduce the discomfort that women feel when they have their periods, and lead to much lighter bleeding.
How do you use Triregol?
Triregol belongs to a family of drugs known as triphasic pills, which means that you get three different kinds of tablets in each pack of 21 days. The Triregol tablets in the packet will have a slightly different dosage of hormones in them, which means that you need to be careful to take the right pills throughout the course of the month. There are six pink Triregol tablets in the packet which contain 50 micrograms of levonorgestrel and 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol. The five white Triregol tablets contain up to 75 micrograms of levonorgestrel and 40 micrograms of ethinylestradiol. A pack of 21 Triregol pills will also contain 10 ochre pills which contain 125 micrograms of levonorgestrel and 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol.
When taking Triregol pills, you will need to make sure that you are taking them in the order that is specified on the packet, which will be labelled with numbers to tell you when you should be taking each pill. One tablet will be taken for every day of a 21-day cycle, then you have a seven-day break, during which time you may have a bleed that is similar to having a normal period.
In the week when you are not taking any Triregol pills, you should still be protected from pregnancy, although vomiting and diarrhoea may reduce the efficacy of these pills, so it is advisable to talk to your doctor if you have these conditions.
Importantly, you must take Triregol at the same time each day, so it may a good idea to set an alarm to tell you when to take it. The best time to begin taking Triregol is on the first day of your new cycle, or the first day of your period, to ensure that you are immediately protected against pregnancy. Speak to your doctor if you are taking Triregol at any other time.
What dosages are there?
Triregol is offered in a single dosage, with three different measurements of hormones in each package. You will be required to take a single pill of Triregol each day for a period of 21 days. After those 21 days, you will have a seven-day break. If you forget to take a Triregol pill one day at the correct time, take it as soon as you remember, unless another pill is due. Do not double up on pills to replace a missed tablet.
If you have missed a Triregol tablet or multiple Triregol tablets in a row, speak to your doctor about whether you may need to use an additional form of contraceptive to protect you against pregnancy.
What are the side effects of Triregol?
Most women will take Triregol without any negative side effects. However, all medications can cause side effects, and it is a good idea to be aware of what a contraceptive pill can do, so that you can respond to the issue properly. The most common side effects of Triregol include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, changes in weight and water retention.
Some people experience changes in their menstrual bleeding experiences and also vaginal thrush, while others have breakthrough bleeding periods.
In some cases when taking the Triregol pill, you may suffer from periods of depression or changes in mood, a rise in your blood pressure or reduced sex drive. Some people experience reactions to their skin, including unusual brown patches on the face or other areas of the body. In very rare circumstances, you may have disturbances in your liver function, increased risk of gallstones and changes to the curvature of the cornea, which make it harder to wear contact lenses.
It is possible for all hormonal pills to cause blood clots or increase your chances of clots in the blood vessels. With that in mind, it is important to be aware of any symptoms of clotting, including coldness or tingling in your extremities.
When should you not use Triregol?
It will not necessarily be suitable for all women to take the Triregol pill. Some, such as those who are breastfeeding after giving birth, should not take any form of combined pill. It is also best to avoid the Triregol pill if you have ever had a blood clot in a vein or the lungs, or if you have a condition that may increase your chances of blood clots.
If you have risk factors for getting blood clots, such as a family history of these conditions, or you are having treatment for varicose veins, you may need to avoid Triregol. This medication may not be suitable for women who have had heart conditions, strokes, heart attacks or other issues caused by blood clots in an artery. If you have severe or moderate high blood pressure, avoid taking Triregol.
Women over the age of 50, or women over the age of 35 who regularly smoke over 15 cigarettes per day or have a BMI over 39, should not take the Triregol pill. Women who have severe diabetes or migraines with aura symptoms should also avoid Triregol. If you have a history of breast cancer, make sure that you check that this pill is right for you.
You may not be able to take the Triregol pill if you have:
- Abnormal bleeding of the vagina;
- Long-term systematic lupus erythematosus;
- A history of excess urea in the blood;
- A history or active liver disease;
- Bile excretion disorders;
- Hereditary blood disorders;
- Rare galactose intolerance disorders.
Avoid taking the Triregol pill if you are allergic to any of the ingredients that are included in Triregol, including the inactive ingredients. You should also speak to your doctor about any allergies you have had. They will take these into account and assess your risk before advising the best contraception for you.
Does Triregol interact with any other medications?
It is possible for Triregol to respond negatively in the body when it is combined with other substances and medications that you are already taking. To ensure that you are safe, make sure that you tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking alongside Triregol, including pills that you have purchased over the counter and without a prescription. You should also make your doctor aware of any herbal or supplemental medications you are using.
Do not take medications that speed up the breakdown of hormones by the liver, such as barbiturates or bosentan amongst others. St John’s wort may also affect the way that Triregol works. Emergency contraceptive pills such as Ellaone can make this medication less effective. If you need to use an emergency contraceptive when using Triregol, you should also use an additional form of contraception for up to 14 days after using the emergency pill.
Orlistat medication to support weight loss, which is often available without prescription, can cause severe bouts of diarrhoea. If you are using medications that cause diarrhoea or vomiting when you are using the Triregol pill, you need to ask your doctor about whether you will still be protected against pregnancy.
This pill could reduce the potency of cholesterol-lowering medication, which means that you will need to take your cholesterol pills at least four hours before or after taking Triregol. Additionally, this pill could reduce the blood-sugar management effects of some pills used for diabetes. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more carefully when taking the Triregol pill.
This medication could reduce the impact of pills intended to lower blood pressure, so you will need to check your blood pressure regularly if you are already at risk or using medicines for high blood pressure when taking Triregol. If you have hypothyroidism and you are taking the Triregol pill, you may need to take an increased dose of your thyroid medication, as Triregol can affect the way that thyroid hormones work. Sometimes, the Triregol pill can decrease the amount of antiepileptic medications in your blood, increasing your risk of additional seizures.
Where can you buy Triregol?
The Triregol pill is available to purchase through partner pharmacies. It is not available without a consultation from a doctor, as not all people will be suitable to take the Triregol pill as their form of oral contraception.
Can you get Triregol without a prescription?
As with most hormonal contraceptives, the Triregol pill is not available without a prescription. You will need to have a consultation with a doctor to get a prescription to take Triregol.
Nice, online, 2019, “Contraceptives, Hormonal”, [accessed 14 November 2019], available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/bnf-uk-only