What Is Demulen Used For?
(ethynodiol diacetate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill
, also known as an oral contraceptive
(or simply, "the pill"). It comes in two different strengths -- Demulen 1/50 and Demulen 1/35
. Demulen 1/50 contains more estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) than Demulen 1/35.
(Brand-name Demulen is no longer available in the United States, as it was discontinued by its manufacturer. However, generic versions, sold under the names Zovia® and Kelnor™, are still available. If your healthcare provider writes you a prescription for Demulen, your pharmacist will automatically substitute one of the generic versions.)
High-Dose Estrogen Contraceptives
Demulen 1/50 (but not Demulen 1/35) contains a high dose of estrogen, compared to most birth control pills that are currently available. Any birth control pill with 50 mcg or more of ethinyl estradiol is considered a high-dose estrogen contraceptive (Demulen 1/50 contains 50 mcg of ethinyl estradiol per tablet).
When birth control pills first came out, they had much higher estrogen doses, compared to today's birth control pills. Over the years, new birth control pills have gradually reduced the estrogen dose, because estrogen is responsible for many of the dangerous problems associated with birth control pills (like heart problems, blood clots, and strokes
Although these new, low-dose birth control pills are effective, they tend to provide less cycle control. This means that there is often more bleeding between periods (breakthrough bleeding) and sometimes, heavier periods. The high-dose birth control pills seem to control the growth of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus that is shed with bleeding) more than the low-dose pills.
Because the higher dose of estrogen in Demulen 1/50 increases the risk of many serious side effects, you should only take it if your healthcare provider thinks that it is the best choice for your situation. If regular or low-dose birth control pills work fine for you, you should not take Demulen 1/50.