Your Questions About Lybrel Answered

Last night on "World News," we solicited your questions about Lybrel, the newly FDA-approved contraceptive, which has the side effect of halting women's periods indefinitely.

To answer some of these questions, we talked to Dr. Michael Thomas, professor and director of reproductive endocrinology and fertility at the University of Cincinnati.

Question from Colakid61: Is this something that would be covered by insurance companies?

Answer: Lybrel or other birth control pills may or may not be covered by your insurance. Each policy is different for contraceptive coverage. It may be covered if the Lybrel is used to treat pelvic pain caused by endometriosis or an issue related to abnormal bleeding. Check with your individual insurance company.

Question from mese2007: Should I be worried about any long-term effects of not having a menstrual cycle? What might these effects be?

Answer: There are no unusual side effects of not having a period caused by the continuous birth control pill. If your cycles were normal before pill use, they should be normal after pill use. After the pill is discontinued, if you do not have a cycle within 7 to 10 days of the last pill, please contact your health care provider.

Question from carrielohrey: Can this new pill be used by women over the age of 35 and are smokers?

Answer: No, this pill should not be used by smokers over the age of 35 because it contains a form of estrogen.

Question from Medico64: I have heard that doctors say the more times you are pregnant and breast-feed, the less likely you are to get cervical cancer. I have also heard that the reason for this is that the periods are stopped. Will this help with that?

Answer: The most common cause of cervical cancer is thought to be by the sexual transmission of the human papilloma virus. The birth control pill does not contribute to the transmission of the virus whether it's taken continuously or not.

Question from daylilielu: I have severe PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). I get very bad headaches, mood swings and suicidal thoughts. But after being on medication daily for years, most of that has passed, except for the headaches. I am assuming that if this pill stops all menstrual cycles, I would not experience any of those things. This would really be life changing for me. How would this drug affect PMDD?

Answer: This pill is not approved for the treatment of PMDD. In general, birth control pills have not consistently demonstrated that they are the best treatment for this condition.

Question from tnrk3yz: I have heard that girls/women who stop menstruating due to anorexia or overexercising are at risk for low bone density in later life. Is this a risk?

Answer: The estrogen component of the pill should help to prevent bone loss. However, the effect on bone was not studied with Lybrel.