Seasonique Versus Seasonale

Seasonale® was the first extended-cycle oral contraceptive. It is made by the same company as Seasonique. The difference between the two is that there are different ingredients in the last week of pills in the 91-day pack. The last seven tablets of Seasonale contain no active ingredients, while the last seven tablets of Seasonique contain a low dose of ethinyl estradiol, the same estrogen that is in the first 84 pills of the pack, but at a higher strength. It is thought that this low dose of ethinyl estradiol may reduce the chance of breakthrough bleeding (bleeding in between periods).


Seasonique was shown to be an effective birth control method in a large clinical trial. In this study, 1 or 2 women out of every 100 who used Seasonique for a year became pregnant. This is very effective, compared to many other methods of contraception. For instance, up to 14 percent of women using condoms for a year will become pregnant.

When and How to Use Seasonique

General considerations for when and how to use Seasonique include the following:
  • The medication comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth once a day.
  • You can take Seasonique with or without food. If it bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
  • Each pack of Seasonique contains 91 pills. Be sure to take them in order. Once you finish a pack, start a new pack right away. You will probably get your period during the last seven days of the pack.
  • It is normal to experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods while taking Seasonique. Keep taking the medication as normal.
  • It is very important that you take Seasonique every day and at the same time each day. Try to pick a time that will be easy to remember, such as at bedtime or breakfast. If you have trouble remembering, please talk with your healthcare provider, as missing pills increases your risk of pregnancy.
  • Make sure you know exactly what to do if you miss any pills. In some circumstances, you may need to use a backup method of contraception, such as condoms, for seven days.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Seasonique will not work if you stop taking it.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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