What Is Lybrel?
Lybrel™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive
(birth control pill
). It is the first combination oral contraceptive that is approved to be taken continuously, with no inactive pills at all. While taking Lybrel, women will not have regular monthly periods, although they will probably experience some unpredictable bleeding and spotting from time to time.
Who Makes Lybrel?
Lybrel was made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., although it is no longer being manufactured. It is still available in generic form.
How Does It Work?
Lybrel is a combined oral contraceptive, which means that it is a birth control pill that contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). It primarily works to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Lybrel alters the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lybrel also alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
There is no reason for women to have a monthly period while taking birth control pills. In fact, the "period" you experience while taking birth control pills isn't really a period at all. Because ovulation does not occur, the body does not prepare for a possible pregnancy by building up the lining of the uterus, so there is no need to shed the lining (as with a regular period). Instead, the "period" that occurs due to birth control pills is actually caused by a withdrawal of the hormones in the pills, which causes bleeding.
Even though you will not have a regular monthly period while taking Lybrel, you will probably have some bleeding from time to time. This bleeding may resemble a menstrual period, but it will not occur at regular intervals.