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Review
. 2010 Sep;6(5):721-35.
doi: 10.2217/whe.10.36.

Estrogen-free Oral Hormonal Contraception: Benefits of the Progestin-Only Pill

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Review

Estrogen-free Oral Hormonal Contraception: Benefits of the Progestin-Only Pill

Nilson Roberto de Melo. Womens Health (Lond). .

Abstract

Although combined oral contraceptives (COCs) are commonly used and highly effective in preventing pregnancy, they may not be suitable for some women. COC use is associated with increased rates of cardiovascular events and is not recommended in nonbreastfeeding women in the immediate postpartum period or in breastfeeding women during the initial 6 months of breastfeeding. Moreover, estrogen-related adverse effects, such as headache, are common. Estrogen-free progestin-only pills (POPs) are a valuable option in women who prefer to take an oral hormonal contraceptive, but are ineligible for, or choose not to use, COCs. Although some POPs have been associated with lower contraceptive effectiveness than COCs, the POP containing desogestrel has shown similar contraceptive effectiveness to COCs. The most commonly reported complaints in women using all POPs are bleeding problems. Counseling women interested in using POPs about the variable bleeding patterns associated with this method may improve compliance and acceptance.

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