Skipping Your Period: The Patch
Preliminary results* from one of the clinical trials comparing an extended regimen with a cyclic regimen of the birth control patch are in.
One group of women used an extended regimen. The women applied the patch weekly for 12 weeks, followed by one patch-free week. Another group used a cyclic regimen [four consecutive cycles of three weekly patch applications/one patch-free week].
During the first 56 days of treatment, women receiving the extended regimen versus those receiving the cyclic regimen, respectively, had significantly fewer median bleeding days (1 vs. 9; p<.001), bleeding episodes (0.5 vs. 2; p<.001), bleeding/spotting days (6 vs. 10; p=.009) and bleeding/spotting episodes (1 vs. 2; p<.001) and a higher incidence of amenorrhea [absence of bleeding] (28% vs. 1%; p<.001). Median time to first bleeding with the extended regimen versus the cyclic regimen was 54 versus 25 days, respectively (p<.001).
Extended-regimen transdermal NGMN/EE [the patch] delays menses and reduces bleeding during the first 56 days of treatment compared with the cyclic regimen, a profile that may be preferred by women who seek flexibility with their contraceptive method.
*LaGuardia KD, Stewart F, Kaunitz AM, et al. Comparison of bleeding/spotting profiles between an extended regimen and a cyclic regimen of transdermal norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol during the first 56 days of treatment. Contraception. September 2005;72(3):230.