Conventional vs. extended-cycle oral contraceptives on the quality of sexual life: comparison between two regimens containing 3 mg drospirenone and 20 µg ethinyl estradiol.

Research paper by Salvatore S Caruso, Marco M Iraci Sareri, Carmela C Agnello, Mattea M Romano, Lucia L Lo Presti, Chiara C Malandrino, Antonio A Cianci

Indexed on: 18 Feb '11Published on: 18 Feb '11Published in: The Journal of Sexual Medicine


Women may use new oral contraceptives (OC) having flexible extended-cycle regimens with a reduced hormone-free interval.To study the changes of the quality of sexual life in users of the traditional 21/7 or extended-cycle 24/4 OC regimens both containing 3 mg drospirenone and 20 µg ethinyl estradiol.One hundred fifteen women (age range 18-37 years) were enrolled. Fifty-four women were randomly placed on traditional OC standard regimen, administered for 21 days, followed by a 7-day hormone-free interval (group A); and 61 women were placed on extended-cycle OC regimen covering 24 days of the cycle with a 4-day hormone-free interval (group B). The Short Form-36 (SF-36) validate questionnaire to assess quality of life (QoL) and the Short Personal Experience Questionnaire (SPEQ) to measure the changes of sexual behavior were administered before starting OC intake and at the 3rd and 6th cycle follow-ups.The SF-36 and the SPEQ questionnaires.Group A women reported QoL improvement during the 6th cycle on all the scales (P < 0.05). Group B women reported QoL improvement during the 3rd and 6th cycle (P < 0.05). Satisfaction with sexual activity, arousal, orgasm, and desire increased during the 3rd cycle in women on the group B (P < 0.05). Group A women did not report any change in all SPEQ items. At the 6th cycle, group B women reported better sexual experience than baseline in all SPEQ items (P < 0.05). All subjects who were affected by dyspareunia before OC intake reported decreased genital pain associated with intercourse at the 3rd and 6th cycle of both OC regimens (P < 0.05).Women could use OCs in a subjective flexible modality. The extended-cycle OC might produce positive effects on the quality of sexual life, enforcing the concept of tailoring an OC to a woman.