Why are there so many freaken pills around?

pill brands

Ever wondered why there are so many damn pills on the market? What’s the difference between Brenda and Juliet? Why is she on Diane and while you’re on Zoely?

From experience, I was prescribed Zoely merely because my GP was in abundance of Zoely sample packs (how convenient). After my first appointment I was given 2 packs. For FREE! Naïve as I was at the age of 19, I took them with the same satisfaction anyone would have given freebies. From hindsight this was a stupid move by my GP and myself. I should have asked questions. Why Zoely? Why not Brenda or Juliet or even Yaz? Is Zoely any better? What’s the difference and why does it cost twice as much? (Zoely $75AUD for 3 months)

If I were talking to my 19-year-old self, this is what I would have told her…In terms of combination (estrogen and progestin) oral contraceptive pills there are TWO main types – monophasic (one phase) pills and multiphasic (multiple phase) pills.

Monophasic pills

  • All active pills in the pack have the contain the same levels of estrogen and progestin in each pill
  • So regardless of what order you take them in, each pill is the same as it as the same dose for every active day
  • Examples – Microgynon-30/50, Nordette, Levlen, Monofeme, Norimin(1)-28, Brevinor-1(R)-28, Yasmin, Diane-35, Estelle-35, Juliet-35, Brenda-35, Valette, Microgynon-20, Loette, Yaz and Zoely

Multiphasic pills

  • The active pills contain different levels of hormones dosages through the month
  • There are 3 types of multiphasic pills:
    biphasic (2 different dosages), triphasic (3 different dosages) and quadphasic (4 different dosages)
  • Multiphasic pills must be taken in sequential order otherwise they will not be effective and you may experience breakthrough bleeding and unintended pregancy
  • Examples – Natazia, Aranelle-35, Enpresse-30/40, Ortho Tricyclen-35, TriNessa-35, Triphasil-30/40/50,

Monophasic pills are more popular as they are easier to take. Multiphasic pills only appeared because there were concerns about estrogen levels in monophasic pills. Which leads me to the numbers. Ever wondered why there are numbers attached to each pill name? This number is actually an indication of the amount of estrogen that is present in the pill.

  • LOW dose pills contain: 20 micrograms of estrogen e.g. Alesse-20
  • REGULAR dose pills contain: 30-34 micrograms of estrogen e.g. Brenda-35
  • HIGH dose pills contain 50+ micrograms of estrogen e.g. Microgynon-50

And how do you decide what dose is best for you? Well here are a few things you should know:

  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of blood clots
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of breast cancer
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of weight gain
  • Increased levels of estrogen = the decrease in the thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroidism
  • Decreased levels of estrogen = the higher the risk of breakthrough bleeding
  • Decreased levels of estrogen = higher rates of discontinuation
  • Moderate levels of estrogen = reduces side effects and regulates periods

For user reviews on each contraception pill visit:
http://www.drugs.com/condition/contraception.html
This website can be a good way to gauge whether you should be questioning the symptoms you are experiencing on a specific pill.

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