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    No-Period Birth Control


    WebMD Magazine - Feature

    Q: I’m a little wary of the new no-period birth control pills on the market. Are they safe?

    A: The FDA approved the first no-period pill (brand name Lybrel) in 2007. And, yes, this new pill is safe. It isn’t that different from other low-dose birth control pills that use estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. Instead of taking four to seven days of placebo pills, however, women take Lybrel continuously, with no breaks and no period. Seasonale, another extended-use oral contraceptive, limits menstrual cycles to four per year.

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    Low-Dose and Ultra-Low-Dose Birth Control Pills

    You probably know that the pill has hormones in it to keep you from getting pregnant. Most versions have a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Some have more estrogen in them than others. While fewer hormones sounds like a good thing -- and it mostly is -- you should know the drawbacks when you’re weighing your choices.

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    The FDA approved Lybrel based on two clinical trials, each lasting one year, of more than 2,400 women ages 18 to 49. The trials showed Lybrel to be a safe and effective contraceptive when used as directed.

    Not having to worry about a monthly menstrual period is liberating, but there are downsides. Side effects of Lybrel include breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Many women also rely on their monthly period -- even when they’re on the pill -- to ensure they’re not pregnant. Some researchers do question the long-term safety of how continuous-use hormones may affect the risk of breast and other hormone-fueled cancers. Ask your doctor if the no-period pill is right for you.

    Brunilda Nazario, MD, WebMD Medical Editor

     

    Reviewed on May 01, 2008

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