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PMS Health Center

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No-Period Birth Control Pill May Help PMS

Researchers Say Experimental Oral Contraceptive Reduces Premenstrual Syndrome
WebMD Health News

Oct. 17, 2005 -- The first birth control pill designed to completely eliminate periods for one year is also proving to be an effective treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

The experimental low-dose combined contraceptive, which delivers estrogen and a progestin 365 days a year (with no pill-free interval), was found to be highly effective in stopping monthly periods and alleviating the emotional and physical symptoms linked to menstruation.

The new study released Monday was one of four evaluating the birth control pill Lybrel presented at the 61st annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Montreal.

The research was funded by drug maker Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which is seeking FDA approval for the continuous-use contraceptive pill. Wyeth is a WebMD sponsor.

More Women Skipping Periods

Women seeking contraception have had increasing power over the timing of their periods in recent years. The injectable hormonal contraception Depo-Provera can suppress monthly periods, although irregular breakthrough bleeding can occur in many users.

And the approval of the Seasonale birth control pill two years ago ushered in the era of seasonal menstruation. Women on this birth control pill menstruate just four times a year.

Oral contraceptive users who have PMS, troublesome periods, or painful endometriosis are also increasingly skipping the seven-day pill-free interval (placebo or sugar pills at the end of the pack) recommended with currently approved birth control pills. Instead, they are opting, with their doctor's knowledge, to take active-hormone pills continuously to eliminate monthly menstruation.

"It is not uncommon for women and their [physicians] to choose to monitor when they have their menstrual cycles or to eliminate them completely," University of Vermont professor of obstetrics and gynecology Julia Johnson, MD, said at a news conference from the Montreal meeting.

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