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Birth Control Pills

Combination Pills


Updated April 23, 2012

Combination birth control pills can be found in different colors. Pill packs vary in size and shape - they can be round, rectangular, square and even oval.
Birth Control Pills

Combination Birth Control Pills

Photo © 2009 Dawn Stacey
Combination pills are oral contraceptives that combine estrogen and progestin. These type of pills are categorized as monophasic, biphasic, or triphasic depending on whether the level of hormones stays the same during the first three weeks of the menstrual cycle or if it changes.

Combo pill packs typically come in a one month supply and are generally available in either 28-day or 21-day packs. Both of these versions have 21 active pills (the pills that include the hormones that prevent a woman from becoming pregnant). The 28-day packs contain 7 placebo (or reminder pills) during the last week to help you keep on track with your pill use.

There are combination pills that have 24 active days and only four placebo pills. These include: Yaz 28 and Loestrin 24 Fe

There are also extended cycle pills that are FDA approved to allow women to have less menstrual periods per year. These include:

  • Seasonale (taken continuously for 84 days - it has 77 active pills and 7 placebo pills), so a woman only has 4 periods a year.

  • Seasonique (taken continuously for 77 days, but the final 7 days of the 3 month cycle contain low-dose ethinyl estradiol rather than placebo tablets)so a woman only has 4 periods a year.

  • Lybrel (taken all 365 days of the year), so a woman has no monthly period all year long
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