Lybrel Birth Control Pill

**No Longer Available**

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Lybrel. Photo © Dawn Stacey

What was Lybrel Birth Control?

Lybrel was a combination birth control pill. It was the first extended-cycle birth control pill designed to supply an active dose of hormones every day to completely stop your period for a full year. Each pack of Lybrel contained 365 pills that were made up of 90 micrograms levonorgestrel and 20 micrograms ethinyl estradiol. Lybrel was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 22, 2007 as the first, and only, birth control pill that was designed to eliminate women's monthly periods.

**Lybrel is no longer available. The manufacturer of Lybrel decided to stop making it. It is important to point out that Lybrel was not taken off the market for safety reasons, and it was not recalled by the FDA. It is common for a brand-name drug to be discontinued once generic versions are allowed to enter the market.**

-->At this time, you can buy Lybrel (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) only in generic form. Generic Lybrel is being sold under the name Amethyst.

How Lybrel Worked:

Lybrel worked just like other combination birth control pills. The difference is that it was taken 365 days of the year and did not have a pill-free interval or placebo period. As long as you tool your Lybrel pill every day, you would not have your period. Lybrel did not affect fertility (or your ability to get pregnant). Research showed that 99% of women who used Lybrel would have their period return within 90 days (3 months) after they stopped taking Lybrel.

 

The Safety of Lybrel:

Some women questioned if not having a monthly period is safe. What you need to realize is that the monthly period you have when using birth control pills is not a REAL period -- it’s actually called withdrawal bleeding. And it is NOT necessary to have a withdrawal bleed each month.

The withdrawal period that you have when taking birth control pills has no medical purpose other than to reassure you that you are not pregnant.

Advantages and Benefits of Lybrel:

  • Gynecologist, Dr. Anita L. Nelson, professor of OB-GYN at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, advises that all women using birth control can benefit from having more control over their bodies. She further claims, in regard to the withdrawal bleeding that occurs while using the pill, "women need to realize that there is no health benefit to this."
  • Fiifty-nine percent of women taking Lybrel stopped bleeding after six months of use.
  • One study reported that after seven to 13 pill packs, women on Lybrel reported less nausea and breast pain than those on a 21-day birth control pill.
  • Other research showed that 114 women whose were using Lybrel for 3 months reported less PMS and period-related pain.

    Potential Lybrel Risks and Disadvantages:

    • Women may not want to not have a period -- 50% of women (in one study) said that they welcomed their periods as a sign that they were not pregnant. Almost 25% revealed that they felt their periods were a natural part of being a woman.
    • The low doses of hormones used in Lybrel may cause spotting.
    • Lybrel had the same side effects as other hormonal methods.
    • 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.

    Effectiveness of Lybrel:

    Medical professionals and data reveal that Lybrel was just as safe as other combination birth control pills. Lybrel was also just as effective as other birth control pill brands.

    Most studies showed that Lybrel (just like any combination birth control pill) is 91% to 99.7% effective. This means that with typical use, only 9 out of every 100 women will become pregnant during the first year of using Lybrel. With perfect use, less than 1 will become pregnant during the first year of using Lybrel.

    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:

    STD Protection:

    Lybrel did not offer any protection against sexually transmitted infections.

    Source:

    McCARTHY LI, Brar H. "Levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol (Lybrel) for continuous contraception." American Academy of Family Physicians; 2008:222.

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