Extended OC use may relieve PMS

December 1, 2006

Taking a continuous 168-day course of oral contraceptives (OCs) can reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, compared to the 21/7-day regimen, according to the results of a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Taking a continuous 168-day course of oral contraceptives (OCs) can reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, compared to the 21/7-day regimen, according to the results of a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Andrea L. Coffee, PharmD, of Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Tex., and colleagues conducted a study of 111 women who had switched from a 21/7-day regimen of an OC containing 3 mg of drosperinone and 30 μg of ethinylestradiol to a continuous 168-day regimen.

A subgroup of 55 women (54%) with the greatest cyclical variation in physical symptoms and mood swings was identified and taken to resemble patients with premenstrual syndrome. Those women who experienced the most severe cyclic variability when taking the OCs on a 21/7-day basis benefited the most from a 168-day regimen, with the biggest improvement noted during the 6th month.

Coffee AL, Kuehl TJ, Willis S, et al. Oral contraceptives and premenstrual symptoms: comparison of a 21/7 and extended regimen. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;195:1311-1319.