Currently, there are three types of oral contraceptive pills: combined estrogen-progesterone, progesterone-only, and continuous or extended use pill. The birth control pill is the most commonly prescribed form of contraception in the US. Approximately 25% of women aged 15 to 44 who currently use contraception reported using the pill as their method of choice. The most commonly prescribed pill is the combined hormonal pill with estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that prevents pregnancy, and the estrogen component controls menstrual bleeding. Birth control pills are primarily used to prevent pregnancy. The effectiveness of this form of birth control is referred to as typical and perfect use. This activity reviews the indications and contraindications, pharmacology, and various formulations of oral contraceptives and highlights the role of the interprofessional team in educating patients about birth control.
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