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Oral contraceptives come in a variety of formulations. The main division is between combined oral contraceptive pills, containing both estrogen and progesterone, and progesterone only pills (mini-pills). Combined oral contraceptive pills also come in varying types, including varying doses of estrogen, and whether the dose of estrogen or progesterone changes from week to week. more...
Combined oral contraceptive pills
All contain the estrogen ethinyl estradiol, although in varying amounts, and one of a number of different progesterones. They are taken for 21 days with then a 7 day gap during which a withdrawal bleed (often, but incorrectly, referred to as a menstrual period) occurs. These differ in the amount of estrogen given, and whether they are monophasic (only one dose of estrogen and progesterone during the 21 days) or multiphasic (varying doses).
These are given as 21 tablets of estrogen and progesterone, followed by 7 tablets of placebo. Different formulations contain different amounts of estrogen and progesterone:
- 20 mcg estrogen
- 0.1 mg levonorgestrel (Alesse®, Levline®)
- 1 mg norethindrone acetate (Loestrin 1/20®Fe)
- 30 mcg estrogen
- 0.15 mg levonorgestrel (Levlen®, Levora®, Nordette®)
- 0.3 mg norgestrel (Lo-Ovral®)
- 0.15 mg desogestrel (Desogen®, Organon; Ortho-Cept®, Ortho-McNeil)
- 1.5 mg norethindrone acetate (Loestrin® 1.5/30)
- 3.0 mg drospirenone (Yasmin®)
- 35 mcg estrogen
- 0.25 mg norgestimate (Ortho-Cyclen®)
- 0.4 mg norethindrone (Ovcon-35®, Warner Chilcott)
- 0.5 mg norethindrone (Modicon®, Brevicon®)
- 1 mg norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35®, Necon®, Norethin®, Norinyl 1/35®)
- 1 mg ethynodiol diacetate (Demulen 1/35®, Zovia 1/35E®)
- 50 mcg estrogen
- 0.4 mg norethindrone (Ovcon-50®, Warner Chilcott))
- 1 mg norethindrone (Necon 1/50®, Norinyl 1/50®, Ortho-Novum 1/50®, Ovcon-50®)
- 0.5 mg norgestrel (Ovral®)
- 1 mg ethynodiol diacetate (Demulen 1/50®, Zovia 1/50E®)
- Desogestrel 0.15 mg and ethinyl estradiol 0.02 mg x 14 tablets, followed by ethynil estradiol 0.01 mg x 2 tablets, followed by 5 tablets of placebo (Kariva®, Barr Laboratories; Mircette®, Organon)
- Desogestrel 0.1 mg ethynil estradiol 0.025 mg x 7 tablets, followed by desogestrel 0.125 mg and ethynil estradiol 0.025 mg x 7 tablets, followed by desogestrel 0.15 mg and ethynil estradiol 0.025 mg x 7 tablets, followed by 7 tablets of ferric oxide (Cyclessa®, Organon; Velivet®, Barr Laboratories)
- Norethindrone 0.5 mg and ethinyl estradiol 0.035 mg x 7 tablets, followed by 0.75 mg of norethindrone and 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol x 7 tablets, followed by 1 mg of norethindrone and 0.035 of ethinyl estradiol, followed by 7 tablets of placebo (Ortho-Novum 7/7/7®)
- Norethindrone 0.5 mg and 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol x 10 tablets, followed by 1 mg norethindrone and 0.035 ethinyl estradiol x 11 tablets, followed by 7 tablets of placebo (Ortho-Novum 10/11®)
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