Understanding You Treatment Options
A popular contraceptive choice for many Australian women1, some pills may provide a number of additional benefits such as reduced bloating, improved skin condition and more regular periods.
The oral contraceptive pill, or “the Pill”, is available in 21-day and 28-day packs.
The 21-day packs contain 21 hormone pills and no hormone-free (or sugar) pills. With the 21-day pack, you have a break of seven days between each pack. You will have your period during the seven days without hormone pills.
The 28-day pack is available in two different dosing regimens: 21/7 and 24/4.
The 21/7 regimen contains 21 hormone pills and 7 hormone-free (or sugar) pills. You will have your period during the seven days without hormone pills. The 21-day pack and 21/7 regimen have been around for many years. In addition to contraceptive benefits, some 21-day or 21/7 regimens are able to help improve skin conditions and provide relief from some of the physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle such as menstrual pain and cycle regularity.2
The 24/4 regimen of the Pill contains 24 active hormone pills and 4 hormone-free (or sugar) pills. Like some of the 21/7 regimens, it may bring benefits in improving physical symptoms of your period including breast tenderness, bloating, and weight gain related to water retention.2 Not all pills are the same however; some pills are approved to treat:
- Moderate or severe acne
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a medical condition associated with the menstrual cycle
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
The Pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken as directed however it only works and delivers the full benefits if you take it correctly and consistently every day. To help you remember to take your Pill at the same time each day, arrange to take it at the same time as another daily activity like brushing your teeth.
If you’ve been prescribed the low-dose 24/4 oral contraceptive, you can sign up for a free Email Reminder to help you remember to take the pill correctly and ensure you don’t miss any of the active hormone tablets.
- Yusuf F, Siedlecky, Patterns of contraceptive use in Australia: analysis of the 2001 National Health Survey, S.J Biosoc Sci. 2007 Sep;39(5):735-44. Epub 2006 Nov 23.
- Rapkin AJ, Sorger SN, Winer SA., Drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol, Drugs of Today (Barc). 2008 Feb;44(2):133-45.