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Fewer Side Effects for Lower Dose Birth Control Pills

CHAPEL HILL, NC---A clinical study released today by the journal Contraception establishes that Mircette, containing 20 micrograms (mcg) of ethinyl estradiol (EE), offers the equivalent cycle control to a higher dose pill (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, 35 mcg EE) and the low occurrence of side effects associated with new lower dose pills (Alesse, 20 mcg EE). The study is the first large, controlled clinical trial to directly compare 20 mcg and 35 mcg pills. Researchers found that common side effects such as bloating, breast tenderness and nausea were approximately 50 percent more common in women using Ortho Tri-Cyclen as compared to Mircette and Alesse. Side effects, particularly in the first few months of pill use, are a significant factor in oral contraceptive compliance and continuation. While cycle control (bleeding or spotting between periods) was similar in all pills studied after the end of six cycles, Mircette and Ortho Tri-Cyclen users exhibited better cycle control in the first two cycles among starters (first-time birth control pill users).

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