New birth control pill promises no more periods

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News 12 First at Five, May 24, 2007.

Augusta, GA---The days of painful cramps and headaches may be over for some women during their menstual cycles. All thanks to a new birth control pill that can halt those cycles indefinitely, but is it safe to use?

A new pill called Lybrel promises "no period" which means unlike the regular pill, a woman would take 28 days of active hormones with no 7 day break. But not everyone is sold on the idea just yet. "Your body is supposed to have it every month to and to eliminate it well it doesn't seem healthy to me," said Heather Lane.

But MCG gynecologist, Dr. Michele Manting-Brewer says the cycle women get while on the regular birth control pill isn't natural either. "It's totally contrived so if you think about it, having the period on the pill is really not normal anyway," she said, noting pregnant women who breast feed will often go as long as 2.5 years without having a cycle and there's been no harmful side effects from that.

But Paula Rogers worries about the long-term effects. "It's just not worth it, until they do a lot more research, I just don't think it's a good idea," Rogers said.

But is the idea all that different from what some women have already been doing off-label, meaning they take two regular birth control packages continuously to skip their period on purpose? Dr. Manting-Brewer says no. "This idea has been around for a really long time and I think they just want to make more money because it's a little differently formulated," she said.

The FDA expects to have Lybrel on the market by July.

Wyeth warns while taking the pill would let women supress their monthly period indefinitely, spotting and breakthrough bleeding did occur during clinical studies.

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