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Camila birth control uses, side effects, and more

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Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, written by Chelsea Boyd

Last updated: Apr 30, 2021
4 min read


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Almost two-thirds of American women use some form of birth control. 

Birth control pills are the second most commonly-used method of contraception (Daniels, 2018). There are many different brands of birth control pills on the market. One option to consider is Camila.

Side effects of Camila are generally mild. As a progestin-only pill, there are fewer conditions that can make it unsafe to use Camila, compared to pills that also contain estrogen.

In addition to preventing pregnancy, Camila can be used to treat endometriosis and some other conditions. 


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What are progestin-only hormonal birth control pills?

Before we dive into Camila, let’s talk briefly about birth control pills, also known as oral hormonal contraceptives.

There are two types of birth control pills: combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills. The first type contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. The progestin-only pill (also called a minipill) contains, as you might have guessed, only progestin. 

How does Camila birth control work?

Camila birth control is a progestin-only pill that prevents pregnancy in several ways. 

Roughly half of the people who use Camila stop ovulating, which is when the ovaries release an egg. It also thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and changes the lining of the uterus, making it harder for a fertilized egg to attach (Camila, 2018). 

In addition to preventing pregnancy, progestin-only birth control pills can be used to treat pelvic pain from endometriosis (Casper, 2017). Endometriosis is an often painful condition where the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. Since they thin the lining of the uterus, progestin-only birth control pills can be used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding (Rodriguez, 2019). 

Who can use progestin-only birth control pills?

Compared to combined oral contraceptives, progestin-only pills can be safely used by a wider range of people. 

Progestin-only pills are a good option for the following groups (CDC, 2020):

  • Those who smoke cigarettes and are over age 35
  • People who are less than 21 days postpartum or are breastfeeding
  • Individuals at risk for blood clots
  • People with a history of stroke, heart attack, or heart disease
  • Those with high blood pressure
  • People who experience migraines that present with auras

People who should not use progestin-only birth control pills are people who are pregnant, have active liver disease, or anyone with a history of breast cancer (Regidor, 2018). 

How do you use Camila?

Camila comes with three packets that have 28 pills each. 

Unlike some other brands where timing may be more flexible, Camila must be taken every day at the same time. If you miss a pill by more than three hours, you need to use another method of birth control, such as condoms or spermicide. If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember. When used correctly, one in every 200 people who use Camila will get pregnant in the first year of use (Camila, 2018). 

One thing to remember about any birth control pill, Camila included, is that it won’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using condoms along with birth control pills can help prevent STIs.  

Drug interactions to be aware of

Some prescription drugs can interact with Camila and make it less effective. 

Medications used to treat epilepsy (including Dilantin, Tegretol, and phenobarbital) may make Camila less effective. Antibiotics like rifampin can reduce how well Camila works (Camila, 2018). 

Some medications used to treat HIV can affect birth control pills too. There is evidence that the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort can also decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills (NIH, 2021) Let your healthcare provider know about any medications or supplements you’re taking before starting oral contraceptives.

What are the side effects of Camila?

Progestin-only birth control pills have few side effects. The most common ones are irregular vaginal bleeding and changes to your period (Camila, 2018). For example, some people will experience breakthrough bleeding outside of their regular cycle.

Other adverse reactions include nausea, dizziness, breast tenderness, and headaches. Rare side effects include acne, weight gain, and excess facial and body hair. 

Finding the right birth control pill can be overwhelming. Camila may be a good choice for you. Online patient reviews of Camila are mixed. This isn’t surprising, since every person reacts to medication differently. Talk to a healthcare provider who can help you choose which pill or other birth control method that can work for you. 


  1. Camila – Norethindrone Tablet. Package Insert. Mayne Pharma Inc.; 2018. Retrieved Apr. 2, 2021 from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=a786be85-49ba-4369-b510-7dccc10f7f18&type=display
  2. Casper, R. F. (2017). Progestin-only Pills May Be a Better First-line Treatment for Endometriosis than Combined Estrogen-progestin Contraceptive Pills. Fertility and Sterility, 107(3), 533–536. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.01.003. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28162779/
  3. Centers for Disease Control. (2020) Summary Chart of U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use. Retrieved Apr. 23, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/pdf/summary-chart-us-medical-eligibility-criteria_508tagged.pdf
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  5. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). (2017, May 4). What are the treatment options for heavy periods? InformedHealth.org. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279293/
  6. National Institutes of Health: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, Mar. 15) Progestin-Only (norethindrone) Oral Contraceptives. Medline Plus. Retrieved Apr. 4, 2021 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a602008.html
  7. Regidor, P. A. (2018). The Clinical Relevance of Progestogens in Hormonal Contraception: Present Status and Future Developments. Oncotarget, 9(77), 34628–34638. DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.26015. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6195370/
  8. Rodriguez, B. M., Lethaby, A, Low, C, & Cameron, I.T. (2019, Aug. 14) Cyclical Progestogens for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001016. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001016.pub3. Retrieved Apr. 23, 2021 from https://www.cochrane.org/CD001016/MENSTR_are-cyclical-progestogens-effective-and-safe-treatment-heavy-menstrual-bleeding-compared-other

Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.