Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

FDA OKs New Birth Control Pill

Seasonique Cuts Women's Periods From 12 to 4 per Year
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 26, 2006 -- The FDA has approved Seasonique, an extended-cycle birth control pill that gives women four periods per year instead of 12 (one per month).

Seasonique is "the next generation" of Seasonale, an extended-cycle birth control pill launched in 2003, states a news release from Barr Pharmaceuticals, the parent company of Duramed Pharmaceuticals, which makes Seasonique and Seasonale.

Seasonique will be available by prescription in July, states a Barr Pharmaceuticals news release announcing the drug's approval. Seasonique is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken as directed, states Barr Pharmaceuticals' news release.

Seasonique was tested in a study of about 2,500 U.S. women aged 18-40 who took the drug for 12 months (four cycles, each lasting 91 days), the news release states. Side effects were similar to those seen in trials of other oral contraceptives, according to Barr Pharmaceuticals.

Seasonique vs. Seasonale

What's the difference between Seasonique and Seasonale? Both drugs are designed to give women four periods per year instead of 12. With Seasonale, women take inactive pills during their four yearly periods. With Seasonique, they get a low dose of estrogen during their period, which may provide benefits including less breakthrough bleeding, Barr Pharmaceuticals spokeswoman Carol Cox tells WebMD.

Users of extended-cycle birth control pills may be more likely to experience bleeding or spotting between periods; such bleeding and spotting tends to decrease during later cycles as women keep taking the drug.

"Oral contraceptives are not for every woman," states Barr Pharmaceuticals' news release.

"Serious as well as minor side effects have been reported with the use of hormonal contraceptives," the release continues. "Serious risks include blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially in women over 35 years."

Oral contraceptives don't protect against HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- or other sexually transmitted diseases, the news release also notes.

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
pregnancy test and calendar
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result