Progestin Only Pills

For women unable to take estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, there is an alternative—oral contraceptives containing only progestin (previously called mini-pills). There are two active ingredients used in this form of contraception, norethindrone and norgestrel. These agents are slightly less effective than COCs but have other advantages over COCs. Progestin-only products have not shown the same risk of thromboembolic events as products containing estrogen have. Therefore, women at increased risk for or with a history of thromboembolism may be good candidates for progestin-only oral contraceptives. Also, these products can minimize menses, and many women have amenorrhea after six to nine cycles. Spotting does not subside in some women, and this is a common cause for discontinuation. These products should be taken at the same time every day, and there is no pill-free or hormone-free period.

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