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Birth Control Hormonal Methods (cont.)

91-Day Birth Control Pills

The FDA has approved a birth control pill that you take for 12 weeks (84 days) followed by one week (seven days) of an inactive pill. A menstrual period occurs during that week, every three months. The pills (known as Seasonale) contain the hormones already approved for other, 28-day birth control pills.

Instead of having a menstrual period once a month, a woman taking Seasonale would have a period every three months. Although Seasonale users have fewer scheduled menstrual cycles, the data from clinical trials show that many women, especially in the first few cycles of use, had more unplanned bleeding and spotting between the expected menstrual periods than women taking a conventional 28-day cycle birth control pill.

Seasonale is effective for prevention of pregnancy when used as directed.

  • The risks of using Seasonale are similar to the risks of using other birth control pills and include an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

  • The labeling also carries the warning that cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious heart-related side effects from the use of combination estrogen-and progestin-containing contraceptives.
Since Seasonale users can expect to have fewer periods, the label also advises women to consider the possibility that they may be pregnant if they miss any scheduled periods.
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