FDA OKs 'No-Period' Birth Control Pill
Lybrel Is 1st Oral Contraceptive Designed to Stop Menstruation
WebMD News Archive
Breakthrough Bleeding continued...
The other women experienced sporadic bleeding or spotting that diminished
with time, Shames notes.
"Women are going to have to decide whether they want to begin this
experience, and understand that it's going to take them a while before they
perhaps get to where they want to be, which is having no bleeding or spotting,"
As with other low-dose contraceptives, "you need to be sure to use some
other form of contraceptive if you find you've missed a pill or forgotten a
pill," says Shames.
Because Lybrel eliminates periods, women who suspect they may be pregnant
should take a pregnancy test, Shames notes.
Eliminating Menstrual Cycles
While Lybrel is the first oral contraceptive designed to completely stop
menstruation, Steve Goldstein, MD, says that's not as dramatic as it sounds.
Understanding how the menstrual cycle works helps to understand why.
Normally, says Goldstein, a rise in hormones linked to ovulation causes the
lining of the uterus to thicken in anticipation of a fertilized egg. If
fertilization does not occur, hormone levels drop and the lining is shed in the
form of menstrual blood. Oral contraceptives, however, change that
"The pill shuts down your normal hormone production and replaces it with a
very tiny amount, so there is no buildup of the uterine lining," says
Goldstein, a professor at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Without a
lining, there is no shedding, so the bleeding that occurs when you stop the
pill is a "withdrawal bleed caused by a drop in hormones," explains
Goldstein tells WebMD that the monthly bleeding that occurs during pill use
is unnecessary, so avoiding it -- the way you can with Lybrel -- should have no
impact on health. Moreover, Goldstein says the menstrual cycle and fertility
should return soon after stopping this pill, much the way it does with other
In at least one study conducted by Wyeth and presented at the 2006 annual
meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 99% of 187
women taking Lybrel for one year either returned to menstruating or got
pregnant within 90 days after stopping the drug.