Medicine: Dangerous Sequence?

Of the estimated 8 million to 10 million women in the U.S. who take the Pill, perhaps 10% use the kind known as sequentials. Unlike the monthly supply of 21 standard birth-control pills, all of which consist of a combination of estrogens and progestins, the sequential package contains two different types of pill. For the first two weeks of her menstrual cycle, the sequential user takes an estrogen-only tablet; for the next five or six days she takes combination estrogen-progestin pills. Sequentials are sometimes prescribed for younger women who have adverse reactions—upset stomach, acne or painful swelling of the breasts, for...

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