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Drug update

An extended-regimen combined hormonal contraceptive pill

Kathleen McNamee, Deborah Bateson

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Abstract

A combined hormonal contraceptive pill with an extended regimen (84 active pills plus seven inactive pills) became available in Australia in 2016. It has the advantage of straightforward dedicated packaging designed to limit withdrawal bleeds to four per year.

Article Extract

A combined hormonal contraceptive pill with a 91-day extended regimen became available in Australia in 2016. It contains 30 mcg ethinylestradiol (EE) and 150 mcg levonorgestrel for 84 consecutive days, followed by 10 mcg EE for seven days (84/7 EE regimen). Users can expect four withdrawal bleeds per year, compared with 13 for users of a traditionally packaged cycle of 21 active hormonal pills followed by seven inactive sugar pills (21/7 regimen). Although women who use a 21/7 regimen pill may choose to run three or four packs together, followed by a seven-day hormone-free break, substituting the hormone-free week with a low daily dose of EE may be an advantage for those who experience oestrogen-withdrawal symptoms during the break. 

Picture credit: © Studio Grand Quest/stock.adobe.com
Model used for illustrative purposes only

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