There are many birth control pills on the market today, and you may be wondering if one is a good choice for you. Azurette and Kariva are two options. They’re both generic versions of the brand-name birth control pill called Mircette. This article describes how Azurette and Kariva are similar and how they’re different. This information may help you decide if one of them is right for you.

Because Azurette and Kariva are generic versions of the same drug, they have the same chemical formula. As a result, they have the same use, dosage, and storage needs.

Use

Like other birth control pills, Azurette and Kariva are mainly used to help prevent pregnancy in women of childbearing age.

Both of these drugs contain the same strengths of two female hormones: ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) and desogestrel (a progestin). These hormones help prevent pregnancy in two ways. One, they stop you from ovulating (releasing an egg from your ovary). Two, they cause changes in your cervix and uterus that make it harder for you to get pregnant.

Azurette and Kariva do not protect you against infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Dosage

Azurette and Kariva are tablets that you take by mouth. They come in blister packs with 28 tablets per pack. In each pack, 26 tablets contain hormones, and the other two do not. For each cycle, you would take:

  • one white tablet with hormones daily for 21 days
  • one green tablet without hormones daily for 2 days
  • one blue tablet with hormones daily for 5 days

Storage

You should store the Azurette and Kariva blister packs at room temperature.

Insurance companies are more likely to cover generics than brand-name drugs because generics are cheaper. That means Azurette and Kariva are more likely to be covered than the brand-name version, Mircette. Also, the cash price (what you would pay without insurance) for generic drugs may be less than for brand-name drugs. With or without insurance, both Azurette and Kariva would likely be cheaper than Mircette.

Azurette and Kariva are both available at most pharmacies.

All drugs can cause side effects. Some effects are more common and may go away after a few days. Others are more serious. These side effects can require medical care. Be sure to consider all side effects when you’re deciding if a drug may work for you.

Common side effects

Azurette, Kariva, and all other birth control pills have similar common side effects. These include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • bleeding between menstrual periods
  • weight gain
  • breast tenderness
  • headache
  • trouble wearing contact lenses (hormone products may change the way lenses fit)

Serious side effects

Azurette and Kariva have similar serious side effects. These side effects are rare in healthy women. They include:

  • blood clots
  • high blood pressure
  • gallbladder disease
  • liver tumors (rare; may or may not be cancerous)

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. An interaction can harm you or prevent the drug from working well.

Certain drugs may interact with Azurette and Kariva and other birth control pills. Examples of drugs that may interact with Azurette or Kariva include:

  • tuberculosis drugs such as rifabutin or rifampin
  • levothyroxine (a thyroid medication)
  • HIV drugs such as nelfinavir or ritonavir
  • anti-seizure drugs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, or lamotrigine
  • antibiotics such as clarithromycin or erythromycin
  • cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin or rosuvastatin
  • antifungal drugs such as itraconazole, voriconazole, or fluconazole
  • pain drugs such as morphine or acetaminophen
  • drugs to prevent organ transplant rejection such as mycophenolate

These drugs may make your birth control pills less effective in preventing pregnancy. For this reason, you may need to use additional birth control methods while taking any of these drugs. These drugs may also increase your bleeding between periods.

To find out if Azurette or Kariva might interact with another drug you’re taking, talk with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

Your overall health is a factor when you or your doctor considers if a drug is a good choice for you. For instance, if you have a certain condition or disease, a particular drug may make it worse.

Azurette or Kariva can be used safely in many women. However, you should avoid these drugs in certain cases.

Don’t use Azurette or Kariva if:

  • you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • you’re older than 35 years of age and are a smoker

Also avoid Azurette or Kariva if you have:

  • history of blood clots
  • history of stroke
  • history of heart attack
  • certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm problems that can cause blood clots to form in the heart
  • any blood clotting disorder
  • high blood pressure that’s not controlled by medication
  • diabetes that’s caused kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage
  • a history of severe migraine headaches
  • a history of breast cancer or any cancer that’s affected by female hormones
  • liver disease, including liver tumors
  • kidney disease
  • adrenal disease
  • gallbladder disease
  • epilepsy
  • high cholesterol

Birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have or have had:

  • cholestasis of pregnancy (jaundice caused by pregnancy)
  • chloasma gravidarim (darkening of the skin during pregnancy)
  • hereditary angioedema (a rare but serious immune system problem that’s passed down in families)

Finally, if you have a history of depression, talk with your doctor about whether Azurette or Kariva is safe for you. Watch your depression symptoms If your doctor prescribes one of these birth control pills. If your depression comes back or gets worse, stop taking the pill and call your doctor right away.

Note: Women of any age who use birth control pills are strongly advised not to smoke.

Azurette and Kariva work as well as most other birth control pills. When you take them correctly, your risk of becoming pregnant is less than 1%. That means one woman out of about 100 women taking this drug would get pregnant per year of use.

Because Azurette and Kariva contain the same hormones in the same strengths, there are not many differences between them. However, different manufacturers make them, so Azurette and Kariva may cause slightly different amounts of side effects. Also, your insurance provider may cover one of these products but not the other.

To help you decide if Azurette, Kariva, or another birth control pill is right for you, talk with your doctor. Discuss the information in this article as well as your full health history. Be sure to ask any questions you have. Your doctor can help you find a birth control pill that’s both effective and appropriate for your health needs.