Skipping Your Period: Seasonique
If you are using the combination birth control pill and you want to skip your monthly fake period, when it comes to choosing a brand, you have two options. You can use one of the many Pill brands packaged for birth control [21 days of active pills/7 days of placebo, or hormone-free pills] on a modified regimen [84 days of active pills/7 placebo days]. Or you can use a dedicated brand like Seasonale [84/7].
Either way, once every three months you have one hormone-free week.
Enter Seasonique [I have to ask: who comes up with these puffy product names?], a new brand that completely eliminates the hormone-free interval. Seasonique has 84 active pills (30-μg of estrogen [EE]/150-μg of progestin [levonorgestrel]), followed by 7 more active pills (10-μg EE).
There are two main advantages to replacing the placebo week with a week of low-dose estrogen: a) less, or no bleeding/spotting, and b) fewer, or no symptoms (cramping, bloating, headaches, etc.) for women who are sensitive to the placebo week hormone fluctuations (in particular, low estrogen).
A study* of 1000 sexually active adult women (18-40 years old) who used Seasonique for one year found that for Cycles 2-4, the median number of bleeding days on a per-patient month was minimal (<1.0 days). There were no reports of unexpected adverse events or thromboembolic [blood clot] events. [I haven't seen any data on this brand's effect on the lining of the uterus, so that is one thing to watch out for as more results come in.]
Despite the fufy name, the development of Seasonique is good news. It offers an alternative to women who find the available extended regimen brands less than optimal.
*Portman D, Anderson FD, Gibbons W. Clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an extended-regimen oral contraceptive using continuous low-dose ethinyl estradiol. Contraception. September 2005;72(3):230.