Oral contraceptives are among the most effective forms of birth control (Table 61.1). The most widely used type of oral contraceptive in the United States today is the combination preparation, that is, a combination of estrogen and progestin (Table 61.2). Users take a tablet daily that contains both an estrogen and a progestin for 20 to 21 days of the menstrual cycle and then nothing or a placebo for the remainder of the cycle or the next 7 to 8 days. Withdrawal bleeding occurs 2 to 3 days after discontinuation of this regimen. Combination preparations vary in the dose of synthetic estrogen and progestin they contain. The use of sequential and triphasic oral
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