Sprintec : Oral Contraceptive

1 Review

Blue Tablet
Active Ingredients:
Norgestimate (0.25mg), Ethinyl Estradiol (0.035mg).

Inactive Ingredients:
Anhydrous lactose, FD&C blue no. 2 aluminum lake, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, pregelatinized starch.

White Tablet
Contains Only Inert Ingredients:
Anhydrous lactose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose 2208, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose.

The list of ingredients above is provided for informational purposes only. Always check the actual product label in your possession for the most accurate ingredient information due to product changes or upgrades that may not yet be reflected on our web site.


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November 3, 2020
Sprintec AKA Ortho Tri-Cyclen for PCOS hormonal acne

I'm writing this review as someone who has suffered with acne for years, and has recently found relief, in hopes that it will make someone else hopeful & consider hormonal birth control. The hormonal birth control pill was not a solution I'd considered with any seriousness until recently. Sprintec/Ortho Tri-Cyclen may not be the right birth control for you, but it has been miraculous for me in just four weeks of use. Since I began taking it about a month ago, my skin has become less oily, less reactive, and less inflamed. While I'm still getting occasional acne, the size and severity of the breakouts are minimal compared to what I'm used to experiencing. The whiteheads and pimples now are smaller, singular (rather than clusters), and easily treated with Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%.

Based on my acne type, I believe my acne is related to PCOS (Poly Cycstic Ovary Syndrome) which is a set of reproductive and hormonal symptoms that affects between 5-10% of people with ovaries, and is often characterized by increased androgen production (the type of hormone that is generally related to acne). In me, this looks like very oily skin, inflamed and irritated skin, and hirsutism (hairy chin, jawline, stomach, and chest). My acne concentrates around my mouth, chin, and temples. I also get a little bit on my shoulders and chest. My acne is always worse in the second phase of my cycle--after ovulation and before menstruation. But in general, I experienced new acne almost every day of the month.  My frustration over acne, which got better and then got worse as I entered my mid-twenties, caused me anger, upset, and grief. I've been suffering from acne since I was 13 years old, at which point I was put on hormonal birth control for the first time.

There are other hormonal treatments for PCOS: Sprionolactone is probably the most popular that's available in the US. However, it comes with a number of side effects, and its not a permanent solution. Birth control pills are cheap, accessible, and can be stopped at any point. 

There are generally four classes of birth control pill: the third and fourth classes, which are the most recently developed, are considered the most "anti-androgenic." This means they act to counter or suppress the production of androgenic hormones, like testosterone, that cause acne (as well as hirsutism). In other countries, there are birth control pills that are far more anti-androgenic than those that are available to users in the US. Of the birth control pills available in the United States, ones containing drosperinone--brand names like Yaz or Yasmin--are the most anti-androgenic. However, they are also highly related to depression, which I have had in the past. I didn't want to take that risk. So my doctor prescribed me Sprintec, which is a generic form of Ortho Tri-Cyclen, which contains the synthetic form of progrestin called Norgestimate. It is one of only a few birth control pills that are designated to treat acne in the US and Canada.

Four weeks later, and my skin is dryer, softer, and clear. I wake up and my face is not oily, irritated, or broken out.

I've also decided to take my birth control continuously, rather than cyclically. This means rather than taking a week's worth of placebo pills each month, I skip the placebo pills at the end of the pack (and the associated period), and start a new pack immediately. This means my hormones don't fluctuate. Doctors recommend getting your period at least every three months, which means I'll probably take 9 weeks of the hormonal pills, then one week of placebo pills, which will give me a period once every ten weeks. I'm choosing this over the standard cyclical use of birth control so that there is less fluctuation, and assuming my old symptoms will show up during the placebo week, which I'd like to limit as much as possible. I also take my pill at the same time every evening.

If you're reading this--there's hope for you. Acne sucks. I've cried over it for too long. I feel free at last from the anxiety and hopelessness that it induced in me, and want the same for you.