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Study Shows New Oral Contraceptive Preventing Menstrual Periods Is Effective

Preliminary findings on the new oral contraceptive “Seasonale” show that this method of birth control is both safe and effective. Seasonale is based on a 91-day menstrual cycle as opposed to standard oral contraceptives that are based on a 28-day cycle. As a result, women using Seasonale experience only four menstrual periods per year, or one per season. The one-year study of Seasonale showed that this method was as effective in preventing pregnancy as standard birth control pills. The most common complaint voiced during the study was breakthrough bleeding, experienced by 14 percent of women taking a low dose of Seasonale and 7.5 percent of women taking a higher dose. Incidents of breakthrough bleeding, however, appeared to decline as women continued usage.

For many women, one of the benefits of Seasonale is the decrease in the number of menstrual periods. According to Dr. Freedolph Anderson of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA, there is no medical reason for women using oral contraceptives to have monthly menstrual periods. Women taking Seasonale appeared to have healthy uteruses despite the decrease in the number of periods.

Seasonale could be available to women in the US as early as next year.

Sources:

Reuters Health, 5/8/02

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