The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Three New Oral Contraceptives

Three new combination oral contraceptives (COCs) with shortened hormone-free intervals, Seasonique, Loestrin 24 Fe and Yaz, have recently been approved by the FDA. All 3 are derivatives of older products.

RATIONALE — Theoretically, shortened hormone-free intervals would reduce hormone withdrawal symptoms, particularly withdrawal bleeding, and decrease the risk of ovulation and pregnancy. One study found that contraceptive regimens with shorter hormone-free intervals suppressed ovarian hormone production more effectively than those with the traditional 7-day interval.1

SEASONIQUE — As with its predecessor Seasonale,2 Seasonique has a 91-day cycle. With both products, active tablets are taken for 84 consecutive days, decreasing the number of withdrawal bleeds annually from 13 with standard 28-day-cycle ... more      

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