Oral Contraceptives: The Extended Cycle Regimen (PDF)

February 1, 2004

Extended use of combination monophasic oral contraceptives (OCs) used to treat women with menstrual disorders, such as endometriosis and dysmenorrhea, has been proven to be safe, effective, and acceptable to women. Even women without a medical indication for menstrual suppression may find that extending OC therapy may yield an improvement in their quality of life by diminishing menstrual symptoms associated with hormone withdrawal during the placebo interval. Most physicians and many women are aware of how to extend OC therapy, and commonly manipulate their cycles to avoid unwanted menstruation at inopportune times, such as during a honeymoon, vacation, or exams.