Skip Your Period and Period Control Options
Good AP article on the available options for period control, as well as some coming attractions.
Among the existing methods:
- Seasonale: 30 μg of estrogen (ethinyl estradiol, or EE)/150 μg of progestin (levonorgestrel), taken continuously for 84 days, followed by 1 week off.
- Ortho Evra patch: 0.75 mg estrogen (EE)/ 6.00 mg progestin (norelgestromin) [20 μg estrogen/150 μg progestin per day], one patch per week for 8 or 12 weeks in a row, followed by 1 week off.
- NuvaRing vaginal ring: 2.7 mg estrogen (EE)/11.7 mg progestin (etonogestrel) [15 μg estrogen/120 μg progestin per day], one ring in place for 3 weeks at a time, for 6 or 12 weeks total in a row, followed by 1 week off. [Alternatively, one ring can be left in place for 4 weeks at a time.]
- Depo-Provera [and Depo-subQ provera 104] shot: 150 mg progestin (medroxyprogesterone acetate) [104 mg progestin], one injection four times a year.
One more existing brand worth mentioning is Loestrin 24 Fe. The innovation here is the shortened placebo interval--one estrogen/progestin pill taken for 24 days, followed by one iron-containing placebo pill taken for 4 days. [Of course, if you're already taking the Pill, and you want a shorter placebo interval, you can use your existing brand to do that. Just take 4 placebo pills, instead of the usual 7, followed by a new pack.]
And some newer developments:
- Seasonique: 30 μg of estrogen [EE]/150 μg of progestin [levonorgestrel]), and 10 μg EE, one estrogen/progestin pill taken continuously for 84 days, followed by one estrogen-only pill for 7 days; no placebo interval.
- Lybrel: 20 μg ethinyl estradiol/90 μg levonorgestrel, one estrogen/progestin pill taken daily with no placebo intervals.
- Implanon*: 68 mg progestin (etonogestrel) [~40 μg progestin per day], one-rod implant lasting up to 3 years.
*Just like so many other methods before it (Mirena, Depo-Provera), Implanon has been available for over a decade outside the U.S.. This pretty much insures Implanon's status as a "cutting edge" method over here.