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.
By Ann Hodgman
One woman's diary
I said to my daughter, "You know what I just can't stand about this
book? The long passages with no dialogue." -
She paused, then said, "Mom, are there any books you like
Now it was my turn to pause. How could she ask that, when everyone knows how
much I love to read? But then again, when had I last complimented a book — even
one I admired? Come to think of it, how often did I say anything without a
negative twist? I don't want my tombstone...
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.