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Lybrel - Lybrel Continuous Birth Control Pill

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Updated June 03, 2014

Lybrel - Lybrel Continuous Birth Control Pill
Lybrel Photo (c) NBC 2007

Potential Risks and Disadvantages:

  • Many women welcome their monthly period as it provides reassurance about their continued fertility and femininity or lets them know they are not pregnant. In fact, according to research done by Wyeth, 50 percent of the women surveyed welcomed their periods as a sign that they were not pregnant and nearly 25 percent revealed that they felt their periods were a natural part of womanhood

  • The continuous exposure to hormones associated with Lybrel has been a source of concern for some people. However, many health-care providers point out that seven additional days of low-dose hormone exposure per month are unlikely to significantly increase any risks beyond those faced by women taking other types of combination birth control pill

  • The low doses of hormones used in Lybrel may cause breakthrough bleeding (unexpected spotting)

  • One of the greatest concerns is that the long-term safety of continuous contraception remains unknown. There is some apprehension that continuous hormone treatments could increase the risk of breast cancer; however, there is no evidence to back this up

  • Another concern about Lybrel: Since approximately 1 to 8 percent of oral contraceptive users become pregnant each year, young women who have never been pregnant and are taking Lybrel may not recognize pregnancy-related symptoms if they are indeed pregnant since they cannot rely on a missing period to indicate a pregnancy

  • Lybrel has the same side effects as other hormonal methods
In general, serious complications do not occur very often with oral contraceptive use. Some women who use a combination pill (like Lybrel) may have a slightly greater chance of certain major disorders than nonusers, including (but not limited to) a slight increase a woman's chance of developing blood clots and stroke. Medical risks increase:
  • In women who smoke
  • In women age 35 and older (should be monitored while taking Lybrel)
  • In women who are 35 or older and smoke
  • In women who have conditions associated with a heart attack (such as, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and conditions that increase the risk of blood clotting)
  • More on: Women Who Should Not Use Hormonal Contraceptives

Effectiveness:

Health-care professionals and additional data reveal that Lybrel is just as safe as other combination birth control pills and preliminary research yields that the effectiveness of Lybrel is similar to that of oral contraceptives as well.

Findings presented at the 55th Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists showed that when Lybrel was compared with a traditional 21-day combination oral contraceptive:

  • Of the 323 women who took Lybrel, 0 became pregnant
  • Of the 318 women who took a traditional 21-day oral contraceptive, three became pregnant
Most studies, however, indicate that Lybrel (just like combination oral contraceptives) is 92 to 99.7 percent effective. This means that with typical use, only 8 out of every 100 women will become pregnant during the first year of use. With perfect use, less than 1 will become pregnant during the first year of use.

How to Obtain Lybrel:

In order to obtain a prescription for the Lybrel, a woman has to have a medical evaluation, blood pressure check, and possibly a pelvic exam by a physician. Women can then have the prescription filled at a local pharmacy.

Costs:

Lybrel may be purchased at a drugstore or clinic as long as a woman has a valid prescription. A woman should check with her private health insurance policy as coverage for birth control varies. Medicaid may sometimes cover these costs. In general, the charges from family planning clinics will usually be less than private health-care providers.

In addition to the cost of the year supply of Lybrel, there is also the cost associated with the medical examination in order to obtain a prescription. At the time of the publishing of this article, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has declined comment as what it would cost to purchase Lybel.

STD Protection:

Lybrel offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

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