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YAWA...or: You Asked. We Answered!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does the Pill work?

The Pill is made up of synthetic hormones that resemble the ones your ovaries produce naturally, namely estrogen and progestin. The Pill “fools” your body into thinking your ovaries are working – because they don't produce an egg, you can't get pregnant.

The Pill also changes the mucus produced by the cervix (the entrance to the uterus). This slows the movement of the sperm through the mucus and through the uterus. When you take the Pill, you'll still get your period each month.

Is it okay to smoke while I am on the Pill?

The short answer would be a resounding "No". Smoking and taking the Pill put you at great risk of developing vascular disease (disease of the arteries and veins). As if that weren't enough, your chances of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots also increase, especially after the age of 35.

It is strongly recommended that women who take the Pill shouldn't smoke. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit. And if you don't smoke now, don't start.

Will I stop getting my period when I take the Pill?

Keep the tampons and pads on hand! Taking a birth control pill like Alesse still means getting a regular period every month.

I didn't get my period. What should I do now?

Keep taking the Pill as usual, but get in touch with your doctor immediately.

I'm taking the 21-day pack. Can I still have sex during the week when I don't take any tablets?

Absolutely. You'll still be protected during this week. Just remember to start the next pack on schedule. And no matter what week you're on, it's always a good idea to use a second form of contraception like condoms!

If I'm experiencing mood swings and I'm not having sex very often, should I stop taking the Pill?

No. Continue to take the Pill as usual, but talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you experience a persistent sad mood stop taking Alesse and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Will taking the Pill affect my fertility after I stop taking it?

There's no evidence to suggest this. After you stop taking the Pill, your period may be delayed. It is wise to not start a pregnancy until one menstrual period after you stop taking the Pill.

Will I gain weight with Alesse?

Some women on the Pill, including Alesse, will experience weight gain or loss. Side effects such as weight gain occur less often with low dose pills compared to high-dose combination birth control pills.

What are some typical side effects of Alesse?

Some users of birth control pills have unpleasant side effects. Most side effects are temporary and are not hazardous to the health. There may be tenderness of the breast, nausea, and vomiting. Some users will experience weight gain or loss. Many of these side effects occurred with high-dose combination birth control pills. These side effects are less common with the low-dose pills prescribed today.

Unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting and changes in the usual menstrual period may also occur. These side effects usually disappear after the first few cycles. They are not an indication to stop taking birth control pills. Unless more significant complications occur, a decision to stop using the pill or to change the brand of pill should be made only after three consecutive months of use. Occasionally, users develop high blood pressure that may require stopping the use of birth control pills.

Other initial side effects may include

  • Growth of pre-existing fibroid tumours of the uterus;
  • An increase or decrease in hair growth, sex drive and appetite;
  • Skin pigmentation;
  • Headaches;
  • Abnormal liver test, nausea, vomiting, severe pain or lump in the abdomen ;
  • Vaginal infections.

Infrequently, there is a need to change contact lens prescription or an inability to use contact lenses.

A woman's menstrual period may be delayed after stopping birth control pills. There is no evidence that the use of the pill leads to a decrease in fertility. As mentioned, it is wise to delay starting a pregnancy for one menstrual period after stopping birth control pills.

For more information on more serious side effects, check out the package insert in your box of Alesse for more information on side effects and contraindications

Who should not take Alesse?

You should not use ALESSE if you have or have had any of the following conditions:

  • History of or actual heart attack, chest pain (angina pectoris) or stroke;
  • Blood clots in the legs (thrombophlebitis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), eyes or elsewhere;
  • Hereditary or acquired blood clotting disorders;
  • Known or suspected cancer of the breast, sex organs, or certain estrogen-dependent cancers;
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding (until a diagnosis is reached by your doctor);
  • Partial or complete loss of vision or other vision problems caused by vascular disease (blood vessel disease of the eye);
  • History of or actual liver disease or history of or actual benign or malignant liver tumor;
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) or liver disease if still present;
  • Heart valve or heart rhythm disorders that may be associated with formation of blood clots;
  • Diabetes affecting your circulation;
  • Migraines (current or history) with neurological symptoms such as aura (visual or sensory disturbance)
  • Migraines with neurological symptoms such as aura (visual or sensory disturbance);
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure;
  • Hypersensitivity (allergy) to any of the components of ALESSE (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets)
  • The important nonmedicinal ingredients in each active tablet of ALESSE are: lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, polacrillin, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide and red iron oxide. It may also contain montanglycol wax (wax E pharma).
  • Each inactive tablet (in ALESSE® 28) contains: lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, polacrillin, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide and montanglycol wax (wax E pharma)

  • OR
  • Lactose, maize starch, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, polyethylene glycol and titanium dioxide
  • Known or suspected pregnancy. Birth control pills should never be taken if you think you are pregnant. They will not prevent the pregnancy from continuing. There is no conclusive evidence, however, that the pill can damage a developing child when taken inadvertently during early pregnancy.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) associated with severe hypertriglyceridemia (current or history). Pancreatitis is marked by abdominal pain, whereas severe hypertriglyceridemia is a very high level of triglycerides in the blood, and may show no symptoms.
My sister said she had some spotting when she took Alesse. Will I have the same thing?


Not necessarily. For some women starting Alesse, they do experience spotting or even breakthrough bleeding. It should go away after a few months, but if it doesn't, tell your doctor about it.

I heard that Alesse can treat my acne. Is this true?

Yes. It is true! Click here to find out more.

How can I make sure I'm getting Alesse at the pharmacy?

Make sure it says Alesse on the box. If it doesn't, speak to your pharmacist.

I saw something on a chat site about the Pfizer Strive Payment Assistance card. What is this?

Pfizer Strive Payment Assistance is a card that allows you to save on your Alesse prescription. All you have to do is present the card to your pharmacist along with your prescription and ask for brand name Alesse and you’ll realize your savings right at the pharmacy. You can talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to find out if a program is available in your province, and if so, how you can enroll. Or, visit!