What are combined oral contraceptive pills (OCPs)


OCPs are a combination of estrogen (all pills in the US contain ethinyl estradiol as the estrogen component in doses of 20-35 micrograms) and a progestational agent. Patients take a pill each day.

Traditional OCPs have a pill free week where no active hormone is taken and menses ensue (newer pills may not have this pill free week - see later Q and As). With perfect use the pill is 99.7% effective, and more than 90% effective with typical use.

Wendy Fried, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is an OB/Gyn with Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC in North Hills, New York

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