Extended cycle oral contraceptives

Ruth Geist, Yoram Beyth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oral contraceptive pills are conventionally prescribed in a manner that causes monthly withdrawal uterine bleeding (lunar month). The reasons for this are historical without an inherent medical need. According to our literature search, there are patients' demands for less frequent menstrual cycles. We have learned from patients who were given the pill continuously for long periods due to medical or social indications that continuous administration of the contraceptive pill is feasible and safe. In the current review, the authors have searched the literature regarding extended cycle oral contraception for periods of time up to one year. This way of administration of the pill is not compromising the efficacy of pregnancy prevention, nor is it detrimental in terms of cardiovascular and hemostatic complications or endometrial malignancy. It is known that there is a slightly increased risk of breast cancer in users of oral contraceptives up to 10 years, regardless of the mode of administration. From a few studies of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women, there is concern that continuous treatment may be deleterious, while sequential is not. Extended cycle contraceptive treatment has a few side effects, mainly increased breakthrough bleeding but decreased withdrawal bleeding. Other side effects were less prevalent than in conventional administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-784
Number of pages4
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Menstruation
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Pregnancy


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