Birth control pills can get expensive with some brands priced at almost a thousand pesos per pack, which may be one of the reasons why women think twice before making them their chosen form of contraception. Thankfully, there are low cost-options that make these oral contraceptives more accessible to women. One of the low-cost brands is Trust pills, which cost around P48-50 per pack in local drugstores.
Trust is a form of “combination pills” containing the synthetic hormones ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) and levonorgestrel (a progestin). According to WebMD, levonorgestrel alone is used as an emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure (like when a condom breaks) and should not be used as a regular form of birth control. But when combined with ethinyl estradiol, it prevents ovulation by changing a woman’s cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for the sperm to reach the uterus and also harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
Why should you take Trust pills?
Apart from preventing pregnancy, Trust may be prescribed to manage menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and menorrhagia, a condition that causes women to bleed heavily for weeks. Each pack also contains seven brown tablets with ferrous fumarate, an iron supplement, which helps improve the hemoglobin content of blood during monthly periods.
How to take it
Each pack has 21 hormone-containing pills and seven brown tablets with ferrous fumarate (total of 28 pills). Take the first hormone-containing pill on the first day of your menstruation. After 21 days, take the brown tablet once daily for seven days.
While taking the brown tablets, you can expect “withdrawal bleeding,” which usually starts on the second or third day of the gap week. Begin a new pack after 7 days, even if bleeding has not stopped.
What happens if I miss a pill?
Like all birth control pills, efficacy is reduced if you fail to take the recommended dosage consistently. Vomiting episodes and “persistent severe” diarrhea may also affect effectiveness. Use a condom as a backup for 7 days while you recover.
Take each pill at around the same time every day. You may take it before or after a meal, or before going to sleep, to make it easier to remember.
If you are less than 12 hours late in taking your pill, protection from pregnancy is not reduced. Take the tablet as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills at the same time. Take succeeding pills at your usual time.
If you are more than 12 hours late in taking a tablet, you increase your chances of pregnancy. More missed pills mean less protection.
According to Drugs.com, if you miss two hormone-containing pills during Week 1 or 2, you may take two pills per day for two days in a row. Then, you can take one pill per day for the rest of the pack.
If you miss two active pills consecutively during Week 3, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack the same day. The same goes for three missed pills in a row during Week 1, 2, or 3.
If you miss two or more active pills, you may not experience withdrawal bleeding during the month. If you miss a period for two months in a row, consult with your ob-gyn as there is a possibility that you might be pregnant.
What side effects can I expect?
Side effects vary per user but the following are indicated in the information leaflet provided with each pack:
- Gastric upset
- Impaired appetite
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
- Changes in libido
- Depressive moods
- Interference with liver functions
What users think of Trust Pills
According to Christine dela Rosa, she has been using pills since college, but they all gave her migraines and nausea. She had a better experience with Trust, although it still came with side effects.
“I was already an insomniac before, so when taking the pill made me lose even more sleep, I was used to it. The only real downside for me was I developed polycystic ovaries. My OB said to cut down on taking pills after I gave birth, dahil dumarami ‘yung cysts. But when I stopped, I had spotting naman, also because of the cysts,” she shares. “It only went back to normal when I started taking pills again, but not every day. After my period week, I would take it paminsan-minan lang.”
One member of our Parent Chat shared that she gained 10 kilos while taking Trust pills for 11 months, while another, who had been using Trust for over a year, reported that she did not have drastic weight gain while taking it.
Another mom shared that she decided to take Trust pills since her husband was coming home for a vacation. But she experienced heavy bleeding that she had to take medicine to control the blood flow. She shared that she regrets taking the pills without prior consultation with her ob-gyn.
What to remember before taking birth control pills
With its cheap price point, many users on our Parent Chat tried the pills without prior consultation with an ob-gyn. Thus, there were some concerns about bleeding or delayed periods, especially when users missed taking the tablets. Many of them expressed their worry of being pregnant though they were taking oral contraceptives.
Drugs.com notes that you may experience spotting (also called breakthrough bleeding) during the first three months of using pills with ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. If the bleeding continues or becomes heavy, you need to alert your doctor immediately.
According to Dr. Diana L. Sarmiento, who runs the website Filipina M.D., most brands will cause common side effects like headache, breast pain, bloating and crankiness during the first three months. On your fourth month, these side effects should disappear. If they don’t, then you have to switch to another brand. “Sometimes, even your doctor will have to do a ‘trial-and-error’ method on you every three months ‘til you are both happy with the end result,” she writes.
We strongly discourage taking any form of birth control without first consulting your ob-gyn. Prescriptions vary depending on a woman’s medical history and needs, and side effects will also vary per user. If you are thinking of taking birth control pills, find an ob-gyn whom you are comfortable discussing your options with. You will also need to visit your doctor regularly to give her updates on your experience with the pills.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.