Ethinyl estradiol/levonorgestrel is a low dose - 20 mcg of the ethinyl estradiol and 100 mcg of the levonorgestrel - combination oral contraceptive. The difference between this oral contraceptive and others is the lower dose which reduces side effects such nausea, weight gain, and acne.
This is a combination of an estrogen and progesterone which affects the body's hormonal control and prevents ovulation. Without ovulation, conception does not occur.
Side effects are similar to those that occur with other oral contraceptives and can include nausea, vomiting, breakthrough bleeding, spotting, fluid retention, breast tenderness, weight changes, headache, depression, yeast infection, intolerance to contact lenses. Packaging with oral contraceptives include a comprehensive list of side effects and are an excellent reference.
People who have a history of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disorders such as migraine headaches, a predisposition to blood clot formation, liver disease, breast cancer, and undiagnosed vaginal bleeding should avoid oral contraceptives. People who smoke increase their risk for cardiovascular disease which can be increased even moreso if they also use oral contraceptives. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use oral contraceptives.
Taking oral contraceptives with broad spectrum antibiotics has the potential of reducing the oral contraceptives' effectiveness.
The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.