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Mylan is a pharmaceutical company that’s now part of the healthcare company Viatris. They make brand-name and generic versions of birth control pills and patches. This article will cover the types of birth control they offer, as well as the effectiveness, side effects and risks, and costs of these medications.

We’ll also go through some frequently asked questions about birth control so that you can feel empowered with all the information you need to make the best decision for you.

There are several types of birth control manufactured by Viatris. Most are combination birth control pills, which provide both progestin and estrogen, to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is the synthetic form of progesterone, a hormone naturally produced by the body. Estrogen is another hormone naturally produced by the body.

The pills differ in the types of progestin used, the dosage of each hormone, and how they’re taken.

MedicationTypeHormonesDosageConsiderationsBest forHow to take it
Desogestrel and Ethinyl EstradiolCombination pillProgestin and estrogen0.15 mg desogestrel, 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol; 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiolYou’ll still get your period. If you’re postpartum and not breastfeeding, you start this contraceptive four weeks after delivery.People who feel comfortable taking one pill per day.Take daily in 28-day cycles
Noethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl EstradiolCombination pillProgestin and estrogen1 mg noethindrone acetate, 0.02 ethinyl estradiolRecommended Sunday start, as each package is arranged in three rows of seven tablets with the days of the week up top. (Though you can change this by using the stickers provided if you’d like a different start day.)People who can remember to follow the “3 weeks on/ 1 week off schedule.” You’ll get your period during the week where you’re taking no pills.Take daily in 21-day cycles, followed by a 1-week break
Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl EstradiolCombination pillProgestin and estrogen1 mg norethindrone acetate, 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol; 75 mg ferrous fumarateThe hormone-free “dummy pills” contain 75 mg of ferrous fumarate, which is a form of iron. However, the medication insert maintains that these pills “do not serve any therapeutic purpose.”People who prefer to take one pill per day rather than skipping a week, people who like how the dummy pills offer a small amount of iron.Take daily in 28-day cycles
Drospirenone and Ethinyl EstradiolCombination pillProgestin and estrogen3 mg drospirenone, 0.03 ethinyl estradiolEach package contains 3 weeks of combination pills, followed by 1 week of hormone-free pills, allowing you to get your period.People who do not mind getting a monthly period and feel reassured taking one pill per day.Take daily in 28-day cycles
Levonorgestrel and Ethinyl EstradiolCombination pillProgestin and estrogen0.15 mg levonorgestrel, 0.03 ethinyl estradiol; 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiolEach package contains a 13-week supply of tablets. There are 84 hormonal tablets. After taking one each for 84 days, you then take a hormone-free tablet for 7 days, leading to a period.People who want to have fewer periods every year. With one period every 3 months, you’ll only have four per year.Take daily in 91-day cycles
NorethindroneProgestin-only pillProgestin0.35 mg norethindroneAlso called the minipill, this pill works by thickening cervical mucus and thinning out the endometrial lining. In about 50 percent of people, it also suppresses ovulation. There are no inactive pills; each pill contains the same dose of progestin. You may still get your period, however.People who are able to commit to a consistent schedule. This pill must be taken at the same time every day in order to prevent pregnancy. Also an option if you’re breastfeeding.Take daily in 28-day cycles
Xulane (norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol patch)Combination patchProgestin and estrogen150 mcg norelgestromin, 35 mcg ethinyl estradiolPeople who do not want to have to take a pill daily. Advised for those who have a BMI under 30.Take once per week in 3-week cycles. Apply to your abdomen, upper outer arm, or back.

As with any pharmaceutical, there are possible side effects and risks to birth control pills and patches. These can differ depending on the type and dose of hormone you’re taking.

Side effects

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), possible side effects of birth control pills and patches include:

In addition, if you’re using a patch, you may also experience skin irritation at the site of application.

Risks

According to ACOG, taking a combination hormonal birth control (one that includes both estrogen and progestin) slightly increases your risk for:

Progestin-only contraceptives such as the minipill do not carry an increased risk of DVT, heart attack, and stroke. This means they may be a better option than combination pills for people with a history of these conditions, or people who are already at a higher risk for these conditions, such as people who smoke.

However, if you smoke and are over 35 years old, then a progestin-only pill is not the best choice.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history and needs if you’re considering taking birth control.

Interactions

If you’re currently taking any medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, it’s important to have an open conversation with your doctor or pharmacist about possible medication interactions. These interactions may alter the effectiveness of the birth control.

According to the drug interactions listed on the hormonal medications that Viatris offers, these are some medications that their products may interact with:

When taken as directed, birth control pills and patches are very effective. Per the National Health Service (NHS), with perfect use, the combination pill is 99 percent effective. The patch also has about 99 percent effectiveness with perfect use, according to Planned Parenthood.

With typical use (such as forgetting a pill occasionally or starting a new patch late), the effectiveness is lower — about 91 percent, per the NHS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 9 out of 100 women will become pregnant when taking the pill or using the patch each year.

There are many different types of birth control. It’s best to talk with your doctor to discuss which option is right for you. This will depend on:

  • your individual health concerns and risk factors
  • your family planning goals
  • whether you want to use a hormonal or non-hormonal option
  • your lifestyle — being more comfortable with one birth control method over another, such as preferring taking a daily oral pill versus using something like an intrauterine device (IUD) that lasts for years

Here are some options you might want to consider and discuss with your doctor:

  • Barrier methods. These include condoms, spermicide, diaphragms, and cervical caps.
  • Hormonal contraception. There are many ways to take hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, patches, and rings. Some of these are based on a monthly cycle (you get a period each month), while others are extended cycle (one period every 3 months) or continuous (no periods). An injection is also available, which protects against pregnancy for 13 weeks.
  • Fertility awareness method. This method involves tracking your cycle, basal body temperature, or cervical mucus to pinpoint fertile days. On fertile days, you either avoid sexual intercourse or use a barrier method.
  • Long-acting reversible methods. These methods include both IUDs and implants. They’re considered long acting because they protect against pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type, and may or may not contain hormones. Because there’s no potential for user error, they’re more than 99 percent effective, according to Planned Parenthood.
  • Sterilization. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that closes off the fallopian tubes. It’s considered a permanent type of birth control.

For any type of birth control, including the types offered by Viatris, you’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor, a local health clinic, Planned Parenthood, a pharmacist, or a telehealth company (depending on your state’s laws).

Once you have the prescription, there are various ways you can get it filled. That includes going to your local pharmacy (or using their mail-order option) or signing up with an online service like Nurx, Hers, or Lemonaid to get them delivered to your home.

Is generic birth control as good as brand-name birth control?

Yes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic and brand-name drugs to be the same when it comes to active ingredients, strength, dosage form, and administration route.

However, generic and brand name oral contraceptives may have different packaging or use different nonactive ingredients (e.g., preservatives and colorings).

In addition, ACOG notes that people may have different experiences with different types of oral contraceptives, as well as brand name versus generics.

If you feel that you do better on brand name or generic versions for any reason (packaging is easier to understand, you experience different side effects on each), then you and your doctor should feel free to choose the version that’s determined best for you — whether brand name or generic.

Does insurance cover birth control?

Yes, insurance covers birth control.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, federal law requires private health plans to provide coverage for 18 methods of contraception at no cost. (That means you will not pay a co-pay or coinsurance.) If you purchase your health plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace, your plan will provide free coverage for contraception.

However, that does not mean that you’ll get to choose any birth control.

While these plans are required to offer all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, they may only cover generics, or only cover certain types. For example, while legally they have to cover birth control pills, they do not have to cover every single type of brand of pill.

Be aware that there are rules that say that certain employers can exclude contraception coverage if they have a religious reason behind their choice.

How much does birth control cost?

Birth control can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per month, depending on which one you’re taking and whether insurance covers it. If you do not have health insurance, there are programs like Medicaid that can provide payment assistance.

Does taking birth control pills cause weight gain?

Though this has been a question among people taking hormonal contraceptives for some time, it’s unlikely that using the pill will cause substantial weight gain.

However, research is inconclusive, according to a Cochrane review, which looked at studies that involved two groups of people — one receiving a birth control method and one receiving a “dummy” birth control method, or placebo — with some studies showing both weight gain and loss.

Mylan is a pharmaceutical company that’s now a part of Viatris. Viatris manufactures several types of combination and progestin-only generic birth control pills, as well as Xulane, a brand-name patch.

Talk with your doctor about which type of birth control might be right for you. There are lots of options, but what’s best for you will depend on your individual health history and needs.


Jessica Migala is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, and fitness content. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two young sons, and rescue pup. Find her on LinkedIn or on Instagram.