No-period pill Lybrel awaits FDA approval

This is thrilling news for any guy who has dated a whose bad PMS has made his life hell: Lybrel, a birth control pill that eliminates a woman’s monthly period, should be approved by the FDA in May:

Doctors say they know of no medical reason women taking birth control pills need to have a period. The monthly bleeding that women on pills experience is not a real period, in fact.

And studies have found no extra health risks associated with pills that stop menstruation, although some doctors caution that little research has been conducted on long-term effects. …

Eliminating menstruation is not a completely new concept. Women who take any kind of oral contraceptive do not have real periods.

Because the hormones in pills stop the monthly release of an egg and the buildup of the uterine lining, there is no need for the lining to shed — as occurs during true menstruation.

Still, since the advent of oral contraceptives in 1960, birth control pills typically have been designed to mimic the natural 28-day menstrual cycle to assure women using the pill that their bodies were functioning normally. The pills are usually packaged as regimens of 21 days of hormone pills and 7 inactive pills. The interruption of hormone therapy during the inactive part of the regimen induces bleeding that resembles a mild period but is, in fact, caused by unstable hormone levels. …

The currently available medical research shows that the side effects of pills that suppress menstruation are the same as the side effects of regular birth control pills.

14 comments to No-period pill Lybrel awaits FDA approval

  • ariana

    Where is Gil when we need him?

  • themofo

    I don’t get it– how is a woman taking this pill supposed to know that she’s NOT pregnant? She might go weeks and weeks thinking everything is normal and then have a very unpleasant surprise. Even BC pills don’t work 100 percent.

  • Ha! I have banned Gil’s sorry punk ass. I finally got fed up and found this wordpress plugin that allows me to ban whole ranges of IP addresses.

    Mofo – unless you’re really obese, wouldn’t it become obvious pretty quickly?

  • themofo

    No. Most women won’t show until their third month at the earliest, and they might just go around wondering why they feel tired and nauseous all the time– when the best time to get an abortion is in the first six or eight weeks. (I’m assuming most women on BC don’t want to be pregnant, and would consider an abortion.)

    Anyway… that was the very first objection I heard when I mentioned this period-less solution to a woman.

  • Well, that is a fair enough point. However on drugstore.com I found Accu-Clear pregnancy tests, $11.29 for a set of three.

    Remove the cap and hold the absorbent wick in your urine stream for at least 5 seconds. “Positive” results may appear in as early as 1 minute. “Negative” results are confirmed in just 3 minutes.

    I’m just a guy, obv., but it’d seem to me that pissing on a tab for five seconds once a month is a lot less hassle than dealing with menstration as a method for detecting pregnancy. (They also detect pregnancy quicker and claim a 99% accuracy rate … according to this website many women in the early stages of pregnancy “get a few days of bleeding right around the time that the early embryo is burrowing into the wall of the uterus” that can be mistaken for an early period).

  • amelia

    I dunno, going through that nervewracking one minute while waiting to see the stick choose a color once a month would kill me I think! Plus, I’d be worried about the side effects, namely water weight gain. On a normal pill you usually put on 5-10 lbs throughout a course of a month. I wonder if these would be any different?

    Also, there goes the “sorry babe, it’s that time/ I have cramps” excuse if you’re not feeling amourous that night :)

  • Amelia, I’m sure it’s nervewracking to take a pregnancy test if you think you might be pregnant (and don’t want to be). But would it really be if it was just a routine thing you did once a month or so?

    Obv. I’ll never take a pregnancy test … but a little while ago I did get an STD test for HIV and stuff and it was no big deal at all. Of course I didn’t think I had any STDs, I’m pretty responsible about, er, that sort of thing. (And, um, not really any more promiscuous than my peers — but I’d never had an STD test, ever, so it seemed like a good thing to get while I was at the doctor and getting bloodwork done for my cholesterol levels). Anyway my point is that it wasn’t stressful at all.

    As for water weight, I think it must affect different women differently — I think for some it works great clearing up acne…

  • amelia

    I guess if it was just part of routine, it would lose that ‘edge’ to it! However, I’m skeptical of any new bc methods after the Ortho-Evra (the bc patch). I had switched to it since remembering pills isn’t my strong suit, but switched back because I hated it… the patches were giving me hives. A year later, there were all those reports about women dying from blod clots. Blod clots are always a risk with oral controceptives, but they found out after it had been on the market for 2 years that the risks with the patch were exponentially greater. I think I will take a wait and see approach.

    And yes, there is one brand of pills in particular that is known to clear up skin… dermatologists often prescribe it.

  • Tallman

    I’d have to say that taking a preg test WHILE on the pill probably isn’t going to be a very nerve wracking experience. I’m not saying I agree with Derek’s solution about testing every month or that women need or should skip the menstration thing. I’m just saying that if you are using a contraceptive with a 99% success rate, then taking a preg test isn’t going to elicit much concern from most people.

  • Jenn

    I could never take a pill that limited or eliminated the times I’d get my period. As big of a pain in the ass is, it’s life and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Something about messing around with that seems scary and not normal.

  • Eh, but couldn’t you say that about any kind of medicine? Currently I’m popping Crestor pills to lower my cholesterol and Propecia to (hopefully) regrow my hair. And I used to take Retin-A for acne. All ways in which we’ve used technology to make our lives better and interfere with the way life is “supposed to be.”

    Also if you look historically it’s really “not normal” for women to be having 400-500 periods over her lifetime. About 100 was the norm. For y’all started menstrating at 16, churning out babies starting at 19, and breast-fed for three years.

    Also I wanted to mention one other little new contraceptive thing for the ladies: NuvaRing.

  • mum,

    I think that the pseudo period that the bc ‘gives’ women is an example of the patronising patriarchal attitude male gynaecologists had towards women in the 60’s They claimed that women wouldn’t feel ‘right’ without their periods. Women of course have manipulated their bc pill taking to suit themselves (why have PMT before an exam or your period while on holiday.?) Doctors have this quaint idea that people take medicines as prescribed……

  • erin

    Jenn and anyone else out there who doesn’t already know this: When you take the pill, you do not have a real period because you do not ovulate. You have “withdrawal bleeding” which is caused by unstable hormones – is not true menses. Lybrel won’t change anything except the amount of days per month that you feel run over by a truck.

  • Yvonne

    In my search to find out some user info on Lybrel, I stumbled across this old posting.. I’ve been taking Lybrel since early May, and up to this point it hasn’t really stopped bleeding (not bleeding per se, but the shedding of tissue). I’m giving it one more month to see what happens, and then I’ll probably switch. Likely, this is just how my body is reacting to the level of hormones Lybrel offers. I’ve also been losing weight, as opposed to gaining it.

    Themofo- I would hope that most women taking some form of birth control wouldn’t find abortion just another form of birth control. I for one might be taking the pill, and hope not to get pregnant, I would still embrace motherhood if we had an “oops.”

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