Femcon Fe Chewable Birth Control Pill

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Femcon Fe is the first chewable combination birth control pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that, when taken every day, can help prevent pregnancy. Each pills contains 0.4 milligrams (mg) of norethindrone (a progestin) and 35 micrograms (mcg) of ethinyl estradiol (estrogen).

Close-up of a woman holding contraceptive pill
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Femcon Fe pills are 92% and 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy. This means that with typical use, only 8 of every 100 users will become pregnant during the first year of use. With perfect use, less than 1% will become pregnant.

Femcon Fe offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

How to Take

Femcon Fe works like other combination birth control pills. Each pack supplies a steady dose of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol to last for one month (with 21 hormone pills and 7 reminder pills).

Follow your healthcare provider’s advice as to when to begin. Most likely, you will start on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period has begun.

After opening the pack, take out the label and peel and stick it to your pill pack, which will indicate your start date and show you the order to take the pills. Pick a time that you will take your pill each day.

Femcon Fe is a small, spearmint-flavored pill that can be either swallowed or chewed. If you decide to chew the pill, you must wash it down with an 8-ounce glass of any drink. Whether you decide to swallow or chew the pill does not alter its effectiveness

Do not dissolve Femcon Fe pills in your mouth. This can affect its absorption and the bioavailability of estrogen and progestin in the bloodstream.

Advantages 

There are certain advantages to taking Femcon Fe compared to other types of hormonal and non-hormonal birth control. Among them:

  • Femcon Fe is completely reversible. The ability to become pregnant returns after you stop taking the pill.
  • It's the only oral contraceptive that can be chewed, so it is ideal for people who have difficulty swallowing pills.
  • It is discreet and gives the user the flexibility to take it on the go.
  • Femcon Fe can help lighten menstrual flow and improve irregular periods.​
  • Unlike condoms, Femcon Fe doesn't interfere with sex and allows for more spontaneity.
  • It may help reduce menstrual cramps.

There is a low incidence of spotting or breakthrough bleeding between periods while on Femcon Fe. According to an older three-year study in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 92% of study participants who took Femcon Fe experienced no breakthrough bleeding.

Other Benefits

Combination birth control pills, like Femcon Fe, offer additional benefits beyond pregnancy prevention. These include a reduction in the risk of:

Disadvantages

The main disadvantages to Femcon Fe, or any birth control pill for that matter, are side effects. With that said, there is a low incidence of side effects with Femcon Fe.

Common

The most common side effects of Femcon Fe include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Spotting between periods
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of libido (sex drive)

Side effects of Femcon Fe tend to go away after two to three months of use.

Rare

People who use combination birth control pills like Femcon Fe may have a slightly higher chance of developing certain medical conditions, including:

Another rare but serious complication of combination birth control pills is the development of blood clots in the heart, lungs, brain, or legs. Users who are confined to bed or immobilized appear to be at the greatest risk.

Costs

In order to obtain a prescription for Femcon Fe, you will usually need to have a medical evaluation, blood pressure check, and possibly a pelvic exam by a healthcare provider.

Femcon Fe comes in monthly packs that can cost anywhere between $30 to $60 a month. Generic versions are available and tend to be less costly.

Medicaid and most private insurance plans will cover the cost of birth control pills, either fully or in part.

A Word From Verywell

Femcon Fe is a safe and effective birth control option for most users. It is important to discuss your complete medical history with your healthcare provider before using Femcon Fe. Serious side effects are rare with Femcon Fe and do not occur very often with most birth control pills.

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  2. MedlinePlus. Estrogen and progestin (oral contraceptives). Updated April 16, 2021.

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  5. Keenan L, Kerr T, Duane M, Van Gundy K. Systematic review of hormonal contraception and risk of venous thrombosisLinacre Q. 2018;85(4):470-7. doi:10.1177/0024363918816683

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  7. Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid coverage of oral contraceptives. Updated July 1, 2015.

  8. Planned Parenthood. What are the disadvantages of the pill? Updated 2020.