Lutein for inducing period – OTC drug, side effects

Added: 14-08-2019 | Update: 16-08-2019
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Lutein is a drug in the form of pills or vaginal globules, which are prescribed by doctors to treat, among other things, absent menstruation. However, do not confuse this drug with OTC lutein, which is a dietary supplement used for preventing macular disease.

Lutein sold as a drug is a synthetic counterpart of a hormone known as progesterone. It is a hormone of the corpus luteum, which fulfils important functions in the female body. Progesterone is responsible for ovulation, implantation, and maintaining pregnancy until the placenta is developed.

If this hormone is deficient, the endometrium grows excessively, the menstrual cycle becomes disturbed, women suffer from amenorrhea (absent menstruation), irregular bleedings, premenstrual syndrome, and painful periods. Therefore, doctors often prescribe lutein to induce menstruation.

Lutein for inducing period – side effects

Lutein generally does not cause adverse effects (unless it is overdosed). In some, very rare cases, you might expect such symptoms as:

  • sleepiness,

  • concentration disorders,

  • anxiety attacks,

  • headaches and dizziness,

  • exacerbated depression (women suffering from depression should be under special supervision of a doctor),

  • gastrointestinal disorders (nausea, oral dryness),

  • cholestatic jaundice,

  • gum bleeding, blood clotting disorders,

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding,

  • skin reactions – acne and redness,

  • body weight fluctuations.

Before a doctor decides to prescribe lutein to induce menstruation, they will obtain detailed medical history of the patient, including the family history. Necessary are also gynaecological examination, breast palpation, as well as cervical screening (smear test). This is because there are several contraindications to using this drug, for example breastfeeding. Lutein should not be administered if there is any hypersensitivity to the active substance or any excipient or if any of the following symptoms appear or have ever appeared in the past:

  • vaginal bleeding of unknown origin,

  • severe liver function disorders (in patients with liver disorders, lutein can be administered intravaginally, which allows lutein to pass directly into the circulation, bypassing the hepatic metabolism),

  • cholestatic jaundice,

  • Rotor syndrome and Dubin-Johnson syndrome,

  • breast and reproductive organ tumours,

  • deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism,

  • arterial thromboembolism (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction),

  • miscarriages or the presence of the post-miscarriage remnants in the uterus.

If the doctor asks you to test your progesterone level, remember that it is not stable throughout a day and its blood concentration fluctuates. Remember that the metabolism of progesterone can be accelerated by different drugs, including anticonvulsant and anticontagious drugs and some herbal products.

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Intravaginal lutein for inducing menstruation

Intravaginal lutein used for inducing menstruation is better than sublingual tablets if the patient has or has had any liver or kidney problems. Why? Because lutein administered intravaginally is transported directly to the uterine mucosa; from the endometrium, progesterone is gradually released to the body circulatory system. Intravaginal progesterone passes into the blood vessels directly, bypassing the hepatic metabolism.

Lutein – dosage for inducing menstruation

Lutein dosage should be individually chosen for each patient. For menstrual disorders, a doctor can prescribe 50 mg of lutein to be taken by the patient sublingually 3-4 times a day for 3-6 consecutive cycles. 

When it comes to intravaginal route of administration, 25-50 mg of progesterone two times a day is used in the second phase of the menstrual cycle for 10-12 days. 

Progesterone test is primarily used for diagnosing secondary amenorrhea (absent menstruation). Progesterone is used intravaginally – 50 mg two times a day for 5-7 days. After several days of taking progesterone, it is withdrawn, and menstruation is awaited – it should occur within 3-7 days. If the bleeding occurs, the progesterone test marks positive. This means that the ovary and uterus function is normal, and the irregular periods can be attributed to the hypothalamic–pituitary axis disorder.

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Lutein, absent menstruation – negative test result

The progesterone test marks negative if the bleeding does not occur for up to 14 days from the lutein withdrawal. Negative test result might indicate that the ovaries do not produce oestrogens or the outlet of blood from the uterus has been somehow obstructed (as can happen in reproductive organ adhesions), or that the woman is pregnant, has reproductive organ defects or has entered menopause.

Lutein for inducing menstruation – and yet pregnancy

Lutein can be used in the first trimester of pregnancy, as it does not demonstrate:

  • masculinizing,

  • virilizing,

  • corticosteroid, or

  • anabolic

Unfortunately, it is not known how the use of lutein affects the foetus in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

Lutein is sometimes recommended to pregnant women if they suffer from bleeding, stomachaches, and if there is a risk of miscarriage. If the woman has had a miscarriage in the past, the doctor can recommend using lutein as a prophylaxis from around the 16th week of pregnancy.

Pregnant women with cervical insufficiency are given lutein from the 23rd week of pregnancy.

Remember that the hormone cannot be used in breastfeeding women, as it passes through to the mother’s milk.

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Lutein for inducing period – OTC drug

There is no OTC lutein for inducing menstruation available in drugstores. Despite few side effects, deciding whether and how lutein should be used must be up to a doctor after a detailed examination of the patient. Commercially available are, however, various lutein-containing dietary supplements available over the counter.

You should not confuse dietary supplements with a drug. Lutein for inducing menstruation is a drug. OTC lutein is a preparation containing a yellow xanthophyll pigment used for preventing macular disease. The main sources of such lutein are plants: spinach, boiled cale, parsley, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, chives, zucchini, broccoli, carrot, as well as egg yolk. 

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