Low-Dose, 365-Day Contraceptive (Lybrel)

levonorgestrelWyeth’s new oral contraceptive, consisting of levonorgestrel drags 90 mcg/ethinylestradiol 20 mcg (Lybrel), is now avail able by prescription in pharmacies. This is the first low-dose combination tablet that can be taken 365 days a year, with out a placebo phase or a pill-free interval.

Lybrel provides women with more hormonal exposure (13 additional weeks per year) than conventional cyclic oral contraceptives containing the same strength of synthetic estrogens and a similar strength of progestins.

Unscheduled bleeding or spotting may occur, but the convenience of having no regular menstrual periods should be weighed against this inconvenience. Be cause monthly bleeding does not occur with Lybrel, it might be difficult for women to tell whether they are pregnant.

Adverse effects include headache, menstrual cramps, upper respiratory infection, vaginal bleeding, and nausea.

(Source: Wyeth, July 30, 2007.)