Fifteen oral contraceptives are now available in Britain. Twelve contain a progestagen and an oestrogen in combination (the ‘Pincus Pill’): they are taken for 20, 21 or 22 days of the menstrual cycle (Table 1). In the other three an oestrogen alone is taken for the first 15 or 16 days, followed by a combination tablet of oestrogen and progestagen to complete the course of 20 or 21 days, the ‘sequential’ regimen. One sequential pack, ‘Serial 28’, includes seven lactose tablets for the next seven days so that there is no break in pill taking throughout a 28-day cycle.
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