Progestinonly agents

1. Progestin-only agents are slightly less effective than combination oral contraceptives. They have failure rates of 0.5 percent compared with the 0.1 percent rate with combination oral contraceptives.

2. Progestin-only oral contraceptives (Micronor, Nor-QD, Ovrette) provide a useful alternative in women who cannot take estrogen and those over age 40. Progestin-only contraception is recommended for nursing mothers. Milk production is unaffected by use of progestin-only agents.

3. If the usual time of ingestion is delayed for more than three hours, an alternative form of birth control should be used for the following 48 hours. Because progestin-only agents are taken continuously, without hormonefree periods, menses may be irregular, infrequent or absent.

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