The trimonthly combination oral contraceptive regimen: Is it cost effective?

Jill L. Schwartz, Mitchell D Creinin, Helen C. Pymar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


The extended use of combination oral contraceptive pills (COCPs) to decrease the frequency of withdrawal bleeding can be convenient and beneficial to women. We conducted a cost-effective analysis comparing the standard regimen (21 days of estrogen/progestin) to a trimonthly regimen (84 days of estrogen/progestin) followed by a pill-free week for 1-year. The economic savings for patient out-of-pocket expenses from decreased sanitary product usage as a result of nine fewer withdrawal bleeding episodes is offset by the cost of three extra packages of COCPs from the trimonthly regimen. On the basis of an average use of 18 tampons per month, the trimonthly regimen is cost effective when the patient cost per package of pills is less than $9.45. The trimonthly regimen is also cost effective when the sanitary product usage is in the higher range; an above average use of 48 tampons per month is cost effective when the patient cost per package of pills is less than $25.20. Therefore, the trimonthly regimen may be useful for women with menorrhagia, but for the average women, the qualitative benefits of less frequent withdrawal bleeding need to be weighed against an increase in cost. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Combination oral contraceptive pills
  • Extended regimen
  • Standard regimen
  • Trimonthly regimen
  • Withdrawal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this