Visanne is a tablet medication used in the treatment of endometriosis. It contains a hormone called dienogest, which is a synthetic version of progesterone.
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Visanne is a tablet medication used in endometriosis. It contains a hormone called dienogest, and helps to prevent the thickening of endometrial tissue inside and outside of the womb, thereby alleviating pain and discomfort. It is a one tablet per day course, and is only available on prescription.
Endometriosis is a condition that is thought to affect around 10% of adult women in the UK. It more commonly occurs during a woman’s fertile years, but can occur during and after the menopause as well. It happens when endometrial tissue grows in places in the body outside of the womb, such as in the ovary or fallopian tubes.
The symptoms of endometriosis can vary in their severity. In many cases, someone with the condition may experience abdominal or pelvic pain, heavy periods or period pain, pain after sex, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, blood in the urine, or problems becoming pregnant. Symptoms can also lead to depression and emotional distress.
Sometimes these symptoms can improve without the need for treatment. However in other cases where symptoms persist, a gynaecologist may recommend medication to help. Pain medicines, such as anti-inflammatories or paracetamol, can reduce discomfort.
Hormonal treatments are another option. These work by helping to lower the level of oestrogen and raise the level of progesterone in the body, and this interferes with the normal process of menstruation in the body. As such, the endometrial lining does not thicken as much (which it normally does in order to receive a fertilised egg), thereby slowing down the growth of endometrial tissue and easing symptoms.
The combined birth control pill can be helpful in facilitating this process, as can intrauterine devices such as the coil and the vaginal ring. Progesterone only tablets can also help. For the treatment of endometriosis, this is available in the form of Visanne. It contains an active ingredient called dienogest, which mimics progesterone in the body. In doing so, it helps to limit growth of endometrial tissue.
Follow the instructions given by your prescriber when taking this medication, and ensure you read the leaflet carefully prior to use.
- The typical dose is one tablet daily.
- Swallow your tablet whole with water.
- It is recommended that you take it at the same time each day.
- If you miss a tablet, skip the dose you have missed and take the next one at the normal time.
- Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
- If you vomit within 3-4 hours of taking Visanne, you should take another tablet.
If you are not sure about anything to do with this medication, talk to your doctor or your pharmacist.
If you develop any serious side effects or notice any signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Common (1 in 10 users or less):
Weight gain, depressed mood, sleeping problems, anxiety, loss of libido, change in mood, headache, migraine, nausea, abdominal pain, wind, swollen tummy, vomiting, acne, hair loss, back pain, breast discomfort, ovarian cyst, hot flushes, uterine/vaginal bleeding including spotting, weakness or irritability.
Uncommon (1 in 100 users or less):
Anaemia, weight loss, increase in appetite, anxiety, mood swings, imbalance in the autonomic nervous system, disturbed attention, dry eye, tinnitus, circulatory problems, palpitations, low blood pressure, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal discomfort, gastrointestinal inflammation, gingivitis, dry skin, excessive sweating, severe itching of the whole body, male pattern hair growth, brittle nails, dandruff, dermatitis, abnormal hair growth, hypersensitivity to light, skin pigmentation problems, pains in the bones, muscle spasms, pain or sensation of heaviness in the limbs, urinary tract infection, vaginal thrush, dryness of the genital area, vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, atrophic vulvovaginitis, lumps in the breast, fluid retention, or changes in bone density in younger users.
Taking it with other medicines
Your doctor needs to know if you are taking the following medicines, as they may interact with Visanne: epilepsy treatments such as phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate or felbamate; tuberculosis medicines such as rifampicin; treatments used in HIV or hepatitis C, such as ritonavir, nevirapine or efavirenz; medications used in fungal infections such as griseofulvin or ketoconazole; or St John’s Wort.
This treatment should not be used if you are taking any other form of hormonal contraception (such as the pill, patch or if you have a coil fitted).
Conditions to look out for
Do not take Visanne if you have: a blood clot; or have ever had severe arterial disease, such as heart disease, angina or stroke; diabetes with blood vessel damage; or have ever had severe liver disease; or have had a benign malignant liver tumour, or any other tumour affected by sex hormones such as breast cancer or cancer of the reproductive organs; vaginal bleeding and you don’t know what is causing it; an allergy to anything in the medicine.
During consultation, you should tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have or have had in the past. They may need to monitor your use or advise you to take special precautions when taking Visanne if you have: ever had a blood clot; a first degree relative who has had breast cancer; ever had depression; high blood pressure; any signs of liver disease when taking the treatment, such as jaundice or itching of the skin; diabetes or have had gestational diabetes; chloasma; or pain in the lower abdomen.
Visanne and blood clot risk
There may be a slightly increased risk of blood clots in women who are taking this treatment. In people who: are overweight; are older; have a family history of blood clots; smoke; have high blood pressure; or are immobile for long periods (for example, if they are recovering from surgery).
If you develop any signs of a blood clot, such as: pain or swelling in the legs; chest pain, or pain travelling from the chest to the arm; breathlessness; a sudden cough; severe, prolonged headaches or migraine; sight problems; problems speaking; or loss of feeling in any part of the body; you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
This medication should not be used during pregnancy, or if you are breastfeeding.
Driving and machinery
This treatment is not likely to affect your capacity to drive or use machines.
Food and drink
You should avoid drinking grapefruit juice when taking Visanne as it can increase the activity of the drug in the body.
Hormonal treatments and cancer risk
Medicines containing sex hormones such as progesterone can increase the risk of certain types of cancer in some women. You can find more information on this in the leaflet provided.
If you have been told that you have an intolerance to certain types of sugar, you should talk to your doctor before using this medicine.
Can I still drink alcohol?
Alcohol is not thought to interact with this treatment.
Will I still be able to drive?
Your capacity to drive and use machines should not be affected.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
No. It is not suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
How should I store it?
Keep the medication in a safe place, away from the reach of children.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
Visanne contains: dienogest, lactose monohydrate, potato starch, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone K 25, talc, crospovidone and magnesium stearate.
Do not take it if you are allergic to any of these ingredients.
Is it available over-the-counter?
No. You will need a prescription for this medicine.
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