Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to birth control and family planning.
Vienva is a prescription birth control medication for women. It’s a combination contraceptive which means it’s comprised of two separate drugs: levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol.
Is Vienva proven to be effective in clinical studies as a contraceptive? What percentage of women use the drug and still become pregnant? How does Vienva compare to other birth control methods like IUDs? And how do real users rate Vienva?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review clinical studies on Vienva to determine how effective the drug is at reducing pregnancy, document side effects of the drug, compare its efficacy to other birth control methods and share real, unsponsored user reviews of Vienva.
How Effective is Vienva at Reducing Pregnancy?
Vienva has been studied in many clinical trials documenting how much the drug can reduce pregnancy rates.
A medical review on the efficacy of Vienva, published in the Drugs journal, found that the medication was effective for preventing pregnancy. The study authors noted that in a trial with over 26,000 patient cycles, only 18 women became pregnant, and 6 of these pregnancies were due to non-adherence (such as forgetting to take the pill). This is a 0.07% failure rate per cycle including pregnancies due to user error.
The researchers noted that the medication was especially effective in women at or over the age of 35, with only one pregnancy in nearly 4,000 evaluable cycles.
A more recent clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of Vienva taken on a continuous basis versus Vienva taken on a cyclical basis. Unsurprisingly, the medication was more effective when taken continuously. 323 women were enrolled in the trial and not a single one became pregnant when the drug was used continuously. The study authors concluded that Vienva was a “safe and effective oral contraceptive.”
A third research review mirrored the results from the other trials cited in this section. Vienva was found to be effective at preventing pregnancy, with a statistically significant reduction in pregnancies over the course of the trial.
We will conclude from the available research that Vienva is effective at significantly reducing pregnancy rates, and appears especially effective when used continuously without any lapses.
Vienva Side Effects
The drug label for Vienva has a boxed warning, shown above, indicating a risk of severe side effects from smoking cigarettes and using the drug. It's important that women who are unable to quit smoking entirely while using Vienva speak with their doctor about alternative birth control medications that may not have such a negative interaction with smoking.
A medical review published in the Contraception journal evaluated the side effects of Vienva. The dosage used was around 50% higher than Vienva so the frequency and intensity of the reported side effects are likely to be more severe than those experienced by Vienva patients.
The most common reported side effects were vertigo and headache, experienced by 58% of patients. Painful menstruation was experienced by 44.8% of patients, and gastrointestinal complaints like bloating and pain were experienced by 43.4% of patients.
The previously-cited Drugs research review of Vienva reported a significantly lower incidence of side effects. 14% of women reported headache, 8% of women reported uterine bleeding, 7% of women reported painful menstruation and 7% of women reported nausea.
Since the Drugs study used the exact dosage of active ingredients as in Vienva, we would consider these results more likely to be accurate and indicative of the risk of side effects.
Real, Unsponsored User Review of Vienva
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Vienva is published by a creator named Nallely Rodriguez. The video is under four minutes long, and she explains her experience taking Vienva and the side effects that caused her to stop taking the medication:
Vienva Vs. Other Birth Control Methods
Vienva is likely to have similar efficacy to other oral contraceptives, as hormonal contraceptives act on similar biological processes in the body.
A medical review on the comparative efficacy of oral contraceptives found that Vienva has similar efficacy to other oral birth control pills, and that its failure rate was 0.3% with perfect use and 8% with typical use. “Perfect use” refers to the practice of using the medication exactly as described on the label. A patient who used the medication daily without skipping a day would be using this drug “perfectly” and significantly reducing their chance of pregnancy.
“Typical use” is a medical classification that allows for human error. Many patients forget to take the drug some days, and this increases the chance of drug failure and pregnancy.
The huge gap between perfect use and typical use is why long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods are so much more effective on average than oral contraceptives. As we discussed at length in our Nexplanon reviews article, LARC devices are simply more effective because the average person will forget to take their oral contraceptive some of the time, and these devices prevent this type of human error because they’re implanted into the body.
LARC devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs) are proven in medical research to be around 20x more effective than oral contraceptives.
Medical Experts Discuss Vienva
One of the most popular YouTube videos on Vienva comes from a channel called “Pandia Health” and features an MD discussing Vienva and answering patient questions. The video appears unsponsored and is an informative resource for patients considering this medication:
The dosage of Vienva appears to be 0.1 milligrams (mg) levonorgestrel and 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol according to a large medical distributor. However the dosage of this medication is hard to conclusively determine because we cannot locate a manufacturer website, which is an issue we’ve never encountered with pharmaceutical medication.
We would recommend that patients considering Vienva speak with their doctor about appropriate dosage, because a doctor may have access to information from the drug manufacturer that regular consumers do not.
Most of the medical research examined thus far in this article has used the doses referenced above, but there are also some studies using a 50% higher dose (0.15 mg levonorgestrel and 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol). It’s unclear if this higher dose is available to be prescribed, so we would recommend that patients ask their doctor about this dose if they feel as though Vienva isn’t working for them at a lower dose.
Vienva User Reviews
Vienva has been reviewed over 250 times on Drugs.com, which is a website that allows patients to publish personal reviews and rate prescription drugs they're taking. The drug has an average rating of only 4.5 out of 10 which is one of the lowest ratings for any prescription medication we've reviewed on Illuminate Health.
The top positive review is from a user called “ABvienva” who gave the drug a 10 star rating and claims the drug has been effective for them without any side effects:
“So now I’ve been on it for over a month and have literally felt no changes to my body or mental health. No side affects and just a light, short 1st period. I know everyone is different but I‘ve had a positive experience.”
The top negative review is from a user named “Rachel” who gave the drug a 1 star rating who claims the medication has significantly worsened their mood:
“this is not worth it. By the time I got to the peach pills my emotions have been through the roof. I cry over the smallest things and have the worst mood swings on it.”
How Does Vienva Work?
Vienva is effective because it inhibits ovulation, which is the process of an egg being released from the ovaries. Ovulation is crucial to conception, so by inhibiting this biological process it’s possible to significantly reduce the chance of pregnancy.
As noted in one of the research reviews cited previously, Vienva has a secondary biological effect which further reduces risk of pregnancy: the medication causes “a thickening of cervical mucus (making sperm entry into the uterus more difficult).”
Ovarian activity also appears to be suppressed by oral intake of Vienva. The size of ovarian follicles (which contain eggs) are reduced, and progesterone levels (a hormone which prepares the uterus for pregnancy) are also reduced.
Clearly Vienva causes a multitude of changes in the body which reduce the chances of pregnancy, making it a prime candidate for an oral contraceptive.