Continuous OC pill regimens are safe and acceptable

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Goodfellow Gems

Continuous OC pill regimens are safe and acceptable

Traditional oral contraceptive (OC) regimes consist of a 7-day break after 21 days of pill taking. Symptoms such as headaches and bleeding during the break are often unwelcome. The break also risks ‘escape ovulation’ and subsequent pregnancy.1

Shortening the pill-free interval or eliminating it is acceptable and safe.2 Tailored regimes include 21/4, 63/4, or 365/365 (daily pill-taking).

This Gem was written by Dr Orna McGinn who is the GP Liaison Women’s Health ABHD Auckland.


  1. Effect of missed combined hormonal contraceptives on contraceptive effectiveness: a systematic review. Contraception (2013) View here
  2. Safety and bleeding profile of continuous levonorgestrel 90 mcg/ethinyl estradiol 20 mcg based on 2 years of clinical trial data in Canada. Contraception (2010) View here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in NZ Doctor 29/01/2020