Bleeding patterns and menstrual-related symptoms with the continuous use of a contraceptive combination of ethinylestradiol and drospirenone: a randomized study

Contraception. 2010 Mar;81(3):215-22. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Nov 22.


Background: The objective of this study was to compare bleeding patterns of women using a contraceptive combination of 30 mcg ethinylestradiol (EE) and 3 mg drospirenone (DRSP) continuously or cyclically. Menstrual-related symptoms were also evaluated.

Study design: This open, prospective, randomized study evaluated 78 women using the EE/DRSP combination continuously for 168 days or for six 28-day cycles, each followed by a 7-day hormone-free interval. A diary with pre-established scales was used to assess the frequency and intensity of bleeding and menstrual-related symptoms.

Results: Amenorrhea increased with continuous use; 62.2% of women with continuous use were amenorrheic at the end of treatment (95% CI: 46.6-77.8%). Dysmenorrhea, headache, acne, nausea, edema and increased appetite improved significantly in the continuous-use group, and mastalgia and edema in the cyclic-use group (p<.05). Six subjects in the continuous-use group (15.4%) and three in the cyclic-use group (7.7%) discontinued due to adverse events.

Conclusions: Continuous use was associated with amenorrhea and fewer menstrual-related symptoms compared to cyclic use.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / chemically induced*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Androstenes / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Metrorrhagia / chemically induced
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health


  • Androstenes
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • drospirenone