What Is the Most Common Birth Control Pill?

Reviewed on 9/14/2021

There are many different types of birth control available to help a woman prevent pregnancy. The types of birth control pills include combined oral contraceptives (also called COCs or “the pill”) and progestin-only pills (POPs, also called “the mini pill”).
There are many different types of birth control available to help a woman prevent pregnancy. The types of birth control pills include combined oral contraceptives (also called COCs or “the pill”) and progestin-only pills (POPs, also called “the mini pill”).

Birth control pills are commonly prescribed hormonal methods of contraception used to prevent pregnancy.

The hormones in birth control pills stop ovulation. If a woman does not ovulate, there is no egg available for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t occur. The hormones in birth control pills also thicken cervical mucus on the cervix, which blocks sperm so they can’t swim to an egg.

When taken as directed, birth control pills are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. 

The types of birth control pills include: 

  • Combined oral contraceptives (also called COCs or “the pill”) contain a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progestin and are taken orally once daily, usually at the same time each day
  • Progestin-only pills (POPs, also called “the mini pill”) are taken orally once daily, usually at the same time of day

Monophasic oral contraceptive pills contain the same amount of estrogen and progestin in each active pill: 

  • Ethinylestradiol and norethindrone (Brevicon, Modicon, Wera, Balziva, Briellyn, Gildagia, Philith, Zenchent)
  • Ethinylestradiol and norgestimate (Estarylla, Previfem, Sprintec)
  • Drospirenone and ethinylestradiol (Ocella, Yasmin, Zarah, Yaz)
  • Drospirenone, ethinylestradiol, and levomefolate (Safyral, Beyaz)
  • Ethinylestradiol and norgestrel (Cryselle, Elinest, Ogestrel)
  • Ethinylestradiol and desogestrel (Apri, Desogen, Juleber, Reclipsen, Solia)
  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (Levora, Altavera, Daysee, Lessina, Lybrel)
  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel extended-cycle (Amethia, Jolessa)
  • Estetrol/drospirenone (Nextstellis)

Biphasic oral contraceptive pills contain the same amount of estrogen each day and the dose of progestin is increased halfway through cycle:

  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel extended-cycle (Amethia Lo, Camrese Lo, Daysee)
  • Ethinylestradiol and desogestrel (Azurette, Kariva, Mircette, Viorele)
  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (LoSeasonique)

Triphasic oral contraceptive pills have three different doses of progestin and estrogen that change about every 7 days:

Four-phasic oral contraceptive pills deliver four different doses of progestin and estrogen during a 28-day cycle: 

Ninety-one-day oral contraceptive pills contain a constant dose of estrogen and progestin for 84 days: 

  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (Introvale)
  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel extended-cycle (Amethia, Ashlyna, Jolessa, Quasense)
  • Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (Seasonique)

Progesterone-only oral contraceptive pills provide a constant dose of progestin:

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Reviewed on 9/14/2021
References
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/contraception/conditioninfo/types

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172310-overview

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill