Lunelle: Monthly Injection

Woman getting Lunelle monthly injection

Lunelle is no longer available in the United States. This medication was recalled due to a concern with the effectiveness of it as a birth control method.

What is Lunelle?

Lunelle is an injection containing the synthetic hormones estrogen and progestin. It is a hormonal method of contraception obtained by prescription and is no longer available in the United States.

How does Lunelle work?

Lunelle works through synthetic hormones injected into your system, which help regulate a woman’s fertility and reproductive cycle similar to the way natural hormones work.

Lunelle prevents pregnancy in one of three ways:

  • First, it prevents eggs from being released from the ovaries.
  • Second, it thickens the cervical mucus, preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Third, it changes the lining of the uterus preventing implantation. This third method creates some ethical concerns you may want to consider.

How do you use Lunelle?

Lunelle is obtained from your healthcare provider every 28 to 30 days. Your healthcare provider will inject the synthetic hormones in the upper arm or in the buttocks. The initial injection is given within the first five days of your menstrual bleeding. Again, it is no longer available in the United States.

How effective is Lunelle?

Lunelle has a failure rate of less than 1% when it is used correctly and consistently. When used correctly, only 1 in 1,000 women will get pregnant. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms.

What are the side effects or health risks of Lunelle?

Lunelle birth control injections have side effects similar to those experienced by users of oral or other hormonal types of contraception which include:

Injections may impact and worsen the effects of depression. You should not use the injections if you think you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Because of a potential increase in the risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, gallbladder disease, or tumors in the liver, these birth control injections should not be used by women who:

  • Smoke
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have breast or uterine cancer
  • Have a history of blood clots
  • Have a history of heart attack or stroke
  • Are allergic to hormones
  • Have diabetes
  • Have liver disease
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen, chest, or arms
  • Redness, swelling, or pain in your legs
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Spitting up blood
  • Increase in depression
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Women who wish to use Lunelle should seek additional consultations with their physician if they are experiencing any of the following medical concerns:

Is Lunelle reversible?

Yes. Pregnancy is possible when you stop using Lunelle, but ovulation may be delayed for a few months. Ovulation usually returns within three menstrual cycles after discontinuing the injections.

How much does Lunelle cost?

There are two fees associated with the use of Lunelle injections: 1) the doctor’s visit and 2) the supply of birth control injections. Office visits to obtain a prescription and your initial injection range from $50 to $200; follow up visits are approximately $20 to $40 dollars. The cost for your monthly injection is approximately $30.

What about Lunelle and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)?

Lunelle does NOT provide protection against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lunelle:

When does it start to work?

Lunelle begins to work immediately. However, a second form of birth control should be used during the first week of the first month.

Can I use it while I am breastfeeding?

Lunelle is no longer available in the U.S. If you have recently been pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, it is best to consult your physician regarding the use of birth control.

What are the pros and cons of Lunelle?

The Pros of Lunelle include:

  • You do not have to remember to take a pill each day.
  • It is easy to use and does not inhibit sexual spontaneity.
  • You may have more regular, lighter, and shorter periods.
  • It has a protective effect against ovarian cysts, cancer of the ovaries, cancer of the lining of the uterus, premenstrual symptoms, osteoporosis, noncancerous breast growths, and infection of the fallopian tubes
  • It is reversible usually within three months.

The Cons of Lunelle include:

  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It should not be used by women with some medical concerns.
  • It requires monthly doctors visits.
  • The injections may be painful.
Last Updated: 08/2015