Sprintec: Cost, Effectiveness and Side Effects
What is Sprintec?
Sprintec is a generic version of the brand-name drug Ortho-Cyclen. Both drugs contain two hormones: estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (norgestimate). These hormones prevent pregnancy by:
- inhibiting the release of an egg during the menstrual cycle
- thickening vaginal fluids to stop sperm from reaching an egg
Note: Sprintec doesn’t protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections)—only barrier methods (like male and female condoms) do that.
How effective is Sprintec?
Similar to other birth control pills, Sprintec is 99% effective when used correctly. Doctors recommend taking Sprintec at the same time everyday to ensure regular delivery of hormones and better protection against pregnancy.
Note: Sprintec may become less effective if you are experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, use a back-up birth control method, such as a condom, to protect yourself against pregnancy. If you recently started using Sprintec and think that it can be causing the symptoms, our doctors can help you find an alternative medication. Use our consultation to get started, or if you're an existing patient, just text us!
Does Sprintec help with acne?
Since Sprintec helps regulate hormones, some women may experience fewer hormonal breakouts while taking the pill. If acne is a major concern for you, you might want to consider choosing one of the four brands that are FDA-approved to treat acne:
Does Sprintec help with heavy periods?
Sprintec may decrease blood loss and make your periods less painful. If heavy or painful periods have been a concern for you, our doctors can help you find the right fit—just let them know in the consultation.
Does Sprintec cause weight gain?
Like most modern birth control pills, this medication lacks estrogen levels that are high enough to cause weight gain. Some people may gain 1-4 pounds in the first month of using Sprintec, but those pounds will usually go away quickly because these few potential pounds are usually water weight, not fat. Hormonal birth control contains estrogen, which increases water retention and insulin levels. Holding more water means gaining more weight, but these pounds will usually flush away with your first period. Read more about birth control and weight again.
What medications does Sprintec interact with?
While Sprintec is safe to use with most medications, some drugs can make Sprintec less effective in protecting you against pregnancy or cause breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between your periods). Sprintec can also decrease effectiveness of some medications. Here is a list to watch out for:
- antibiotics such as rifampin (used to treat tuberculosis or meningitis)
- anti-seizure drugs such as oxcarbazepine, carbamazepine, phenytoin, and topiramate
- anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam and temazepam
- antifungal medications such as fluconazole, nystatin, griseofulvin
- mood stabilizers such as felbamate, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, and primidone
- HIV medication such as nelfinavir or ritonavir
- pulmonary arterial hypertension medication such as bosentan
- St. John’s wort (an herbal supplement used to treat depression, insomnia, or anxiety)
Always let your doctor know what medications you are currently taking to make sure they won’t interfere with your birth control. If you are interested in learning more about how different medications interact with birth control, head over to this article.
What are the side effects of Sprintec?
Like all birth control pills, Sprintec comes with a few side effects. Some of them are mild and often disappear after a few weeks, others can be more serious and may require medical care.
Common side effects:
- breast tenderness
Serious side effects:
- blood clots
- stomach pain
- severe headaches
- high blood pressure
If you experience any of the serious side effects, you should contact a doctor immediately. If you're still struggling with any of the common side effects after you've been on Sprintec for three months, another birth control brand may be a better fit. Talk to your doctor about your options. Our doctors are available to reassess and rewrite your prescription at any time (at no cost to you).
How much does Sprintec cost?
Sprintec is one of the most affordable birth control pills on the market. If you have insurance, you can get Sprintec for free*, and if you’re paying out-of-pocket, you can get it for as little as $15/month through Simple Health.
*In the rare case a copay is required - you’ll hear from us!
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