Jolessa (Page 5 of 8)

7.3 Concomitant Use with Hepatitis C Vaccine (HCV) Combination Therapy — Liver Enzyme Elevation

Do not co-administer JOLESSA with HCV drug combinations containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, due to potential for ALT elevations [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

7.4 Interactions with Laboratory Tests

The use of contraceptive steroids may influence the results of certain laboratory tests, such as coagulation factors, lipids, glucose tolerance, and binding proteins.


8.1 Pregnancy

There is little or no increased risk of birth defects in women who inadvertently use COCs during early pregnancy. Epidemiologic studies and meta-analyses have not found an increased risk of genital or non-genital birth defects (including cardiac anomalies and limb-reduction defects) following exposure to low dose COCs prior to conception or during early pregnancy.

Do not administer COCs to induce withdrawal bleeding as a test for pregnancy. Do not use COCs during pregnancy to treat threatened or habitual abortion.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Advise the nursing mother to use other forms of contraception, when possible, until she has weaned her child. COCs can reduce milk production in breastfeeding mothers. This is less likely to occur once breastfeeding is well established; however, it can occur at any time in some women. Small amounts of oral contraceptive steroids and/or metabolites are present in breast milk.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and efficacy of JOLESSA have been established in women of reproductive age. Efficacy is expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents under the age of 18 as for users 18 years and older. Use of JOLESSA before menarche is not indicated.

8.5 Geriatric Use

JOLESSA has not been studied in postmenopausal women and is not indicated in this population.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

The pharmacokinetics of JOLESSA have not been studied in subjects with hepatic impairment. However, steroid hormones may be poorly metabolized in patients with hepatic impairment. Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal and COC causation has been excluded [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2) ].

8.7 Renal Impairment

The pharmacokinetics of JOLESSA have not been studied in women with renal impairment.


There have been no reports of serious ill effects from overdose of oral contraceptives, including ingestion by children. Overdosage may cause withdrawal bleeding in females and nausea.


JOLESSA (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets) is an extended-cycle combination oral contraceptive consisting of 84 pink active tablets each containing 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin and 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol, an estrogen , and 7 white inert tablets (without hormones).

The structural formulas for the active components are:

(click image for full-size original)


  • C21 H28 O2 MW: 312.4

Levonorgestrel is chemically 18,19-Dinorpregn-4-en-20-yn-3-one, 13-ethyl-17-hydroxy-, (17α)-, (-)-.

ethinyl estradiol
(click image for full-size original)

Ethinyl Estradiol

  • C20 H24 O2 MW: 296.4

Ethinyl Estradiol is 19-Norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trien-20-yne-3,17-diol, (17α)-.

  • Each pink active tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: anhydrous lactose NF, FD&C blue no. 1, FD&C red no. 40, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose USP, microcrystalline cellulose NF, polyethylene glycol NF, magnesium stearate NF, polysorbate 80 NF, and titanium dioxide USP.
  • Each white inert tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: anhydrous lactose NF, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose USP, microcrystalline cellulose NF, and magnesium stearate NF.
levonorgestrelethinyl estradiol


12.1 Mechanism of Action

COCs lower the risk of becoming pregnant primarily by suppressing ovulation. Other possible mechanisms may include cervical mucus changes that inhibit sperm penetration and endometrial changes that reduce the likelihood of implantation.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

No specific pharmacodynamic studies were conducted with JOLESSA.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


No specific investigation of the absolute bioavailability of JOLESSA in humans has been conducted. However, literature indicates that levonorgestrel is rapidly and completely absorbed after oral administration (bioavailability nearly 100%) and is not subject to first-pass metabolism. EE is rapidly and almost completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract but, due to first-pass metabolism in gut mucosa and liver, the bioavailability of EE is approximately 43%.

Following continuous dosing with once-daily administration of JOLESSA tablets, plasma concentrations of levonorgestrel and EE reached steady-state within 7 days. The mean plasma pharmacokinetic parameters for JOLESSA under fasting conditions in normal healthy women following once-daily administration of one levonorgestrel/EE combination tablet for 10 days are summarized in Table 5.

Table 5: Mean ±SD Pharmacokinetic Parameters Under Fasting Conditions in Healthy Women Following 10 Days Administration of One Tablet of JOLESSA (n=44)





Cavg a



54.6 ± 16.5


5.0 ± 1.5 ng/mL

1.6 ± 0.5


2.3 ± 0.7


1.4 ± 0.7 hours

Ethinyl estradiol

935.5 ± 346.9


106.1 ± 41.2


18.5 ± 9.4 pg/mL

38.9 ± 14.4 pg/mL

1.6 ± 0.6


a Cavg = AUC0-24/24

Food Effect

The effect of food on the rate and the extent of levonorgestrel and EE absorption following oral administration of JOLESSA has not been evaluated.


The apparent volume of distribution of levonorgestrel and EE are reported to be approximately 1.8 L/kg and 4.3 L/kg, respectively. Levonorgestrel is about 97.5 — 99% protein-bound, principally to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and, to a lesser extent, serum albumin. EE is about 95 — 97% bound to serum albumin. EE does not bind to SHBG, but induces SHBG synthesis, which leads to decreased levonorgestrel clearance. Following repeated daily dosing of levonorgestrel/EE oral contraceptives, levonorgestrel plasma concentrations accumulate more than predicted based on single-dose pharmacokinetics, due in part, to increased SHBG levels that are induced by EE, and a possible reduction in hepatic metabolic capacity.


Following absorption, levonorgestrel is conjugated at the 17β-OH position to form sulfate and to a lesser extent, glucuronide conjugates in plasma. Significant amounts of conjugated and unconjugated 3α,5β-tetrahydrolevonorgestrel are also present in plasma, along with much smaller amounts of 3α,5α-tetrahydrolevonorgestrel and 16β-hydroxylevonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel and its phase I metabolites are excreted primarily as glucuronide conjugates. Metabolic clearance rates may differ among individuals by several-fold, and this may account in part for the wide variation observed in levonorgestrel concentrations among users.

First-pass metabolism of EE involves formation of EE-3-sulfate in the gut wall, followed by 2-hydroxylation of a portion of the remaining untransformed EE by hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A4 (CYP3A4). Levels of CYP3A4 vary widely among individuals and can explain the variation in rates of EE hydroxylation. Hydroxylation at the 4-, 6-, and 16- positions may also occur, although to a much lesser extent than 2-hydroxylation. The various hydroxylated metabolites are subject to further methylation and/or conjugation.


About 45% of levonorgestrel and its metabolites are excreted in the urine and about 32% are excreted in feces, mostly as glucuronide conjugates. The terminal elimination half-life for levonorgestrel after a single dose of JOLESSA was about 30 hours.

EE is excreted in the urine and feces as glucuronide and sulfate conjugates, and it undergoes enterohepatic recirculation. The terminal elimination half-life of EE after a single dose of JOLESSA was found to be about 15 hours.

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