|Extended and Continuous Use of Combined Oral Contraceptives
Some COC users do not follow the usual cycle of 3 weeks taking hormonal pills followed by one week without hormones. Some women take hormonal pills for 12 weeks without a break, followed by one week of nonhormonal pills (or no pills). This is extended use. Other women take hormonal pills without any breaks at all. This is continuous use. Monophasic pills are recommended for such use (see Question 16).
Women easily manage taking COCs in different ways when properly advised how to do so. Many women value controlling when they have monthly bleeding—if any—and tailoring pill use as they wish.
Benefits of Extended and Continuous Use
Disadvantages of Extended and Continuous Use
Extended Use Instructions
Continuous Use Instructions
A woman should take one hormonal pill every day for as long as she wishes to use COCs. If bothersome irregular bleeding occurs, she can stop taking pills for 3 or 4 days and then start taking hormonal pills continuously again.