The lowest-dose, extended-cycle combined oral contraceptive pill with continuous ethinyl estradiol in the United States: a review of the literature on ethinyl estradiol 20 µg/levonorgestrel 100 µg + ethinyl estradiol 10 µg
Sheila Krishnan, Jessica Kiley
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Abstract: Extended-cycle oral contraceptives (OCs) are increasing in popularity in the United States. A new extended-cycle OC that contains the lowest doses of ethinyl estradiol (EE) and levonorgestrel (LNG) + continuous EE throughout the cycle is now available. It provides 84 days of a low-dose, combined active pill containing levonorgestrel 100 µg and ethinyl estradiol 20 µg. Instead of 7 days of placebo following the active pills, the regimen delivers 7 days of ethinyl estradiol 10 µg. Existing studies reveal a similar efficacy and adverse effect profile compared with other extended-regimen OCs. Specifically, the unscheduled bleeding profile is similar to other extended-cycle OCs and improves with the increase in the duration of use. Although lower daily doses of hormonal exposure have potential benefit, to our knowledge, there are no published studies indicating that this specific regimen offers a lower incidence of hormone-related side effects or adverse events. In summary, this new extended-cycle OC provides patients a low-dose, extended-regimen OC option without sacrificing efficacy or tolerability.
Keywords: continuous regimen, ethinyl estradiol, extended cycle, oral contraceptive