Kariva Birth Control 101
An Instagram ad, best friend, or little birdie told you about a little birth control pill called Kariva. Now, you’re looking to learn more. What can you expect from Kariva birth control, and how will it affect you?
These questions are the key to finding the right birth control solution for your unique health, so we applaud you for asking them.
Kariva is a highly effective, popular choice in the combination birth control pill category. Let’s take a closer look at how Kariva birth control works so you can feel empowered to know whether Kariva could be the right birth control option for you.
What is Kariva?
Kariva is a combination birth control pill that works to prevent pregnancy. Combination birth control pills are named for their combination of two hormones: estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (desogestrel). Kariva uses the power of these hormones to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg in two ways:
It prevents the release of an egg from the ovaries.
It blocks sperm from reaching an egg by thickening the cervical mucus.
Although in the same combination birth control family as Apri birth control, Beyaz birth control, and Yasmin birth control, Kariva is different from other combination birth control pills because it is biphasic.This means Kariva is formulated to take your body through two different phases of hormone levels rather than just one (monophasic). Biphasic contraception more closely replicates the hormonal fluctuation in your body.
In the pack of 28 pills during one month of Kariva, here’s what the biphasic dosages look like:
First, 21 days of 0.15 mg of progestin and 20 mcg of estrogen
Then, two days of hormone-free placebo tablets
Finally, 5 days of 10 mcg of estrogen
How effective is Kariva?
As with any form of contraceptives, it is important to know how effective birth control is. Kariva oral contraceptive can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly. To reach 99% efficacy, Kariva must be taken at the same time and in the correct order every day without missing any doses. In cases of inconsistent usage, the efficacy rate can drop to 90%.
To ensure you take your Kariva or other birth control consistently, try setting an alarm or downloading a birth control app to remind you to take your pill at the same time every day. When you’re on the go, make sure to pop your pack in your bag before heading out on your adventures.
Who should use Kariva?
There are certain risks associated with taking Kariva birth control, as with most hormonal birth control pills. People who menstruate who are over the age of 35 and smoke should not use Kariva, as it can increase your risk of serious health conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.
It is also not recommended that people who are breastfeeding/chestfeeding use Kariva for the first 5-6 weeks after giving birth because the hormonal medication may impact breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking Kariva birth control, as these risks are low but possible.
You should also talk to your healthcare provider before taking Kariva birth control if you have any of the following medical history:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
How to use Kariva
Kariva birth control requires a little extra diligence since there are three different types of pills per pack. But don’t worry—you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
The Kariva pack will have pills in three different colors:
White pills: the first 21 days of the month
Light green pills: the middle 2 days of the month
Light blue pills: the last 5 days of the month
Here’s how to take Kariva birth control safely and correctly:
Take the first white pill in the Kariva birth control pack on the first Sunday after your menstrual cycle period, even if your period starts on a Sunday. Be sure to take it at the time you can ensure you’ll take it every day moving forward.
Use a backup method of birth control, like condoms, for the first 7 days after starting Kariva as it begins to get working in preventing pregnancy in your body.
When your handy-dandy birth control alarm goes off, take the reminder pills that are next up in the pack until the pack is empty.
When the pack is empty, start a new 28-day pack, beginning with the first white pill the very next day.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Kariva birth control, you can take steps to make up for the missed dose and take other precautions in the meantime. Try to decrease the number of missed doses as much as possible.
Follow this action plan to correct your dosages after missing a Kariva birth control dose:
If you miss one white pill – Take a white pill as soon as you remember. Then, continue taking white pills as normal. This means you’ll take two white pills on the same day.
If you miss two white pills in weeks 1 or 2 – When you remember or have access to your pill pack again, take two white pills. Then, take two more white pills the next day. Take your pills as normal for the remaining days, and use condoms or other pregnancy prevention methods for one week after missing doses.
If you miss two or more white pills in week 3 – Continue to take one white pill per day until the following Sunday. On Sunday, discard that pack of pills and start on a new pack. Use condoms or another backup method of pregnancy prevention until you start a new pack.
If you miss any light green or blue pills – Continue taking your pills in order as normal, skipping and throwing away the ones you missed.
When in doubt, use condoms or other pregnancy prevention methods if you miss any doses of Kariva birth control to help prevent pregnancy. Learn more about how morning-after pills work, to be prepared. If you’re waiting to get in to see your healthcare provider to talk with them about it, take one white pill per day until you see them.
What are the pros and cons of Kariva birth control?
If you can adjust your schedule to take Kariva birth control every day, it can be a reliable birth control option with plenty of pros. In addition to helping prevent pregnancy, Kariva birth control can also relieve other hormonal symptoms. As with other different types of birth control, it's important to look at both the benefits and disadvantages of this oral contraceptive.
If you’re interested in using Kariva as your contraception, good news—you can prepare to benefit from this long list of advantages of Kariva birth control:
It is 99% effective when used correctly
Kariva requires only one pill per day
It may help relieve menstrual pain, such as cramps or bloating
Combination birth control like Kariva may help reduce a heavy menstrual flow
Kariva might help make your period more regular
This pill may help control hormonal acne
As you weigh the benefits of this birth control, be sure to consider Kariva’s potential drawbacks, too. Here are the disadvantages to be aware of with Kariva birth control:
Kariva requires consistent daily dosing to effectively prevent pregnancy
This pill may cause side effects such as nausea, headache, or vomiting
Kariva isn’t suited for smokers over age 35, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding/chestfeeding
Things to consider before using Kariva
There are some risks and possible side effects to using Kariva birth control. However, few people who menstruate experience any of the more severe health risks, and many take Kariva birth control side-effect free, too.
Risks of Kariva birth control
The rare but possible health risks of taking Kariva birth control are as follows. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if experiencing the symptoms of one of these urgent health conditions:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Side effects of Kariva birth control
Side effects of taking Kariva birth control are more common than its risks, but many people never experience them. Some only experience them in the beginning few months of Kariva birth control.
Possible side effects include:
Achy breastsor breast tenderness
Menstrual spotting or breakthrough bleeding
How to get Kariva
To start using Kariva birth control, you’ll need to work with a licensed healthcare provider to get a prescription. They’ll assess your health to make sure you’re not more susceptible to potential health risks associated with the medication and make sure it’s right for you.
You can get started with Kariva in one of two ways:
Go to a healthcare clinic – Make an appointment with an OB/GYN or your physician and let them know that you’d like to start using Kariva birth control. They’ll run you through a series of questions. This process could take a smidge longer, as you’ll likely need to wait for appointment availability and pharmacy processing.
Order it online with Favor – When you work with Favor, you cut out in-person clinic visits and long pharmacy wait times. Our licensed healthcare professionals will work with you conveniently online to evaluate whether Kariva hormonal contraceptive is right for you. If it is, we’ll ship it right to your door. You never have to leave your couch.
Welcome to convenient, empowering birth control with Favor
There’s no denying that Kariva birth control can be highly effective, easy to use, and convenient. If you are considering trying a combination birth control pill to prevent pregnancy or balance other hormonal symptoms, Kariva can be an excellent option.
Finding the birth control option that is best for you, or stocking up on other reproductive health essentials, like emergency contraception, has never been easier. With Favor, you can take back the control of your healthcare—overflowing with support, and always free of judgment.
Oh, and did we mention that we have pricing with or without insurance? Now that’s breaking down barriers. Join us today and come see why we have served 2 million members and counting.
At Favor, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Articles are written by experienced contributors; they are grounded in research and evidence-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and extensively reviewed by our team of experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.