Are All Oral Birth Control Medications the Same?

Published on: August 30, 2019
The Pill

For decades, “the pill” has been one of the most popular birth control methods, but there are many different options when it comes to this type of contraceptive. Oral birth control pills use hormones to minimize the chance of getting pregnant, touting 99% effectiveness when used correctly. There are slight differences in pills to give women options when choosing their birth control, with two main types. While the different pills may not be the same, how they work is very similar.

Combination Birth Control Pills

The most common type of oral contraceptive pills are the combination of estrogen and progestin. These pills are taken 21 days in a row, with a seven-day break before starting another 21-day cycle. Packs come in 21 or 28-day supplies, with 28-day packs having seven “sugar pills” that have little or no hormones. Combination birth control pills may offer some benefits beyond stopping pregnancy, including fewer acne breakouts and lighter periods.

Mini Pills

For those sensitive to estrogen or with certain health risks, the mini pill can be an alternative as it does not contain estrogen, only progestin. These are taken daily and there are not any “inactive pills” in a pack. It is best to take these at the same time every day; the effectiveness is compromised if the pill is taken as little as three hours past 24-hours since the last pill. The mini pill is used by those who have severe side effects to estrogen pills or are at higher risk for stroke or heart disease.

There are dozens of different brands of birth control pills, but most work similarly and have identical effectiveness if taken as prescribed. However, some people have fewer side effects with different formulas. To determine the right pill for you or to explore other birth control options, talk to your OB/GYN.

Posted on behalf of
Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.
699 Church Street #220
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 422-8505

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