Introduction

MonoNessa and TriNessa are two generic birth control pills. MonoNessa is a generic version of the brand-name drug Ortho-Cyclen. TriNessa is a generic version of the brand-name drug Ortho Tri-Cyclen. This article describes how MonoNessa and TriNessa are alike and how they’re different. This information can help you decide if one of these birth control pills would be a good choice for you.

Use, dosage, and storage

Use

MonoNessa and TriNessa are similar in their dosage and storage needs. They have one difference in what they’re used for. TriNessa is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two uses, while MonoNessa is approved for only one.

Preventing pregnancy

MonoNessa and TriNessa are mainly used to help prevent pregnancy in women of childbearing age. Both of these drugs contain two female hormones: ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) and norgestimate (a progestin). These hormones help prevent pregnancy by:

  • stopping ovulation (the release of an egg from one of your ovaries)
  • causing changes in your cervix and uterus that make it harder for pregnancy to occur

Treating acne

TriNessa is also approved to help treat moderate acne in women 15 years of age or older. MonoNessa is not approved for this use.

MonoNessa and TriNessa do not protect against infection with HIV. They also do not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases.

Dosage

MonoNessa and TriNessa are tablets that you take by mouth. They come in blister packs with 28 tablets per pack, one for each day of the monthly cycle. In each pack, twenty-one tablets contain hormones and the rest do not. The amount of hormones in MonoNessa and TriNessa are different.

MonoNessa

Every hormone tablet contains the same amounts of estrogen and progestin. This is called a monophasic pill (it has one phase only). For each monthly cycle, you take:

  • one blue tablet with hormones daily for 21 days, and then
  • one green tablet without hormones daily for 7 days

TriNessa

Each hormone tablet contains the same amount of estrogen, but the amount of progestin in the pills changes. The amount of progestin in the tablets increases each week for three weeks of the cycle. This is called a triphasic pill (it has three phases). For each monthly cycle, you take:

  • one white tablet with hormones daily for 7 days, then
  • one light blue tablet with hormones daily for 7 days, then
  • one blue tablet with hormones daily for 7 days, and then
  • one dark green tablet without hormones daily for 7 days

Storage

You should store the blister packs of MonoNessa or TriNessa at room temperature.

Cost, insurance coverage, and availability

Because they’re generic drugs, you’ll probably find MonoNessa and TriNessa at lower costs than their brand-name versions. Your local pharmacy likely carries them as well.

Insurance companies may cover more generic drugs than brand-name drugs. This is because generics are typically less expensive. MonoNessa and TriNessa are more likely to be covered than their brand-name versions, Ortho-Cyclen and Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

The cash price (what you would pay without insurance) for generic drugs may also be less than for brand-name drugs. So, with or without insurance, MonoNessa and TriNessa would likely be cheaper than their brand-name versions.

Side effects

MonoNessa, TriNessa, and all birth control pills can cause side effects. Some of these are more common and may go away after a few days. Others are more serious and can require medical care. You should consider all side effects when deciding if a drug may work for you.

Common side effects

MonoNessa and TriNessa 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

MonoNessa and TriNessa also have similar serious side effects. They’re rare in healthy women. These serious side effects include:

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

Drug interactions

When a substance changes the way a drug works, the change is called an interaction. An interaction can be harmful or keep the drug from working well.

Certain drugs may interact with all birth control pills, including MonoNessa and TriNessa. Examples of drugs that may interact with MonoNessa or TriNessa 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
  • prescription potassium supplements

Some of these drugs may make the birth control pills less effective in preventing pregnancy. If you take any of these drugs, you may need to use an additional birth control method. Some of these drugs may also increase breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between your periods).

To find out if MonoNessa or TriNessa 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.

Use with other medical conditions

Your overall health is a factor when you and your doctor are deciding if a drug is a good choice for you. For instance, if you have a condition or disease, a certain drug may make it worse. MonoNessa and TriNessa would have the same effects on any medical conditions you have.

Many women can use either of these pills safely. However, you should avoid them in some cases.

Don’t use MonoNessa or TriNessa if:

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

Also avoid MonoNessa or TriNessa if you have:

  • a history of blood clots
  • a history of stroke
  • a history of heart attack
  • certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm problems that can cause blood clots to form in your heart
  • a blood clotting problem that runs in your family
  • high blood pressure that’s not controlled by medication
  • diabetes that has 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

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)

If you have a history of depression, talk with your doctor to see if MonoNessa or TriNessa is safe for you. If your doctor prescribes you one of these birth control pills, watch your symptoms. If your depression comes back or gets worse, stop taking the pill and call your doctor.

Effectiveness

MonoNessa and TriNessa work as well as most other birth control pills. When the pills are used correctly, about 1 out of 100 women may get pregnant during the first year of use.

Pharmacist’s advice

MonoNessa and TriNessa are both generic birth control pills, but they have some key differences.

Hormone amounts

MonoNessa and TriNessa are different types of pills based on the amount of hormones they contain. Your doctor can tell you if one of these types of birth control pills may be better for you.

MonoNessa is monophasic. It has one treatment phase. That means the hormone amounts in each hormone pill are the same.

TriNessa is triphasic. It has three treatment phases, and the amount of progestin in the hormone tablets increases in each phase. These increases occur over three weeks of each cycle. The amount of estrogen stays the same.

Use

Both pills are approved to help prevent pregnancy, but only TriNessa is also approved to treat acne. This pill could be helpful if you need an oral contraceptive and you have acne.

Except for these two differences, MonoNessa and TriNessa are very similar. To help you decide if one of these birth control pills is right for you, talk with your doctor. Review this article and your health history with them. Your doctor can help you find a birth control pill that’s a good match for your health needs.