Send to

Choose Destination
J Adolesc Health. 2007 Feb;40(2):151-7. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Extended cycling of combined hormonal contraceptives in adolescents: physician views and prescribing practices.

Author information

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



We sought to determine the practices of physicians who prescribe for adolescents extended cycles of combined hormonal contraception, in which hormones are taken for longer than 21 days and menstruation is delayed.


Five hundred physicians from the membership rosters of the Society for Adolescent Medicine and the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology were asked to complete an online 39-question survey.


The 222 respondents (44% of those contacted) were mostly pediatricians (55%) and gynecologists (34%). Ninety percent reported having ever prescribed extended cycles of hormonal contraception to adolescents, and 33% said extended cycles make up more than 10% of their total combined hormonal contraceptive prescriptions. Respondents most commonly prescribed extended cycles to accommodate patients' requests to induce amenorrhea for specific events (82%) or for fewer menses per year (72%), and to treat menorrhagia (68%), dysmenorrhea (65%), and endometriosis (62%). The most commonly prescribed extended regimen was 84 continuous hormone days followed by 7 hormone-free days (46%), most often with an oral contraceptive containing 30 mug of ethinyl estradiol. Gynecologists were more likely than other physicians to prescribe extended cycles frequently, to prescribe hormone-free intervals shorter than 7 days, and to prescribe continuous regimens that eliminate the hormone-free interval completely.


Physicians prescribe extended cycles of combined hormonal contraceptives to adolescents to accommodate patient requests and to treat common gynecologic conditions. Currently, a variety of extended cycling regimens are prescribed, suggesting that further study is needed to determine the optimal regimen for this subset of patients and their individual needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center