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Oral contraceptives pills abbreviated as OCPs and also known as birth control pills are medications taken by mouth for the purpose of birth control. Oral contraceptive pills work by inhibiting ovulation and fertilization.
Oral contraceptive pills are of type hormonal contraception that primarily act on the endocrine system and are mostly composed of steroid hormones. About 14% of the world's contraceptive users rely on Oral contraceptive pills and they are highly effective when taken on the prescribed schedule, with pregnancy rates of less than 1% per year and when used perfectly can ensure pregnancy rate up to 0.3% or less.
Currently they are commercially available only for women, although hormonal contraceptives for men are being clinically tested. There are two types of female oral contraceptive pill that are taken once per day, they are the combined oral contraceptive pill contains estrogen and progestin and the progestin-only pill
Combined oral contraceptive pill contains both an estrogen and a progestin work by suppressing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. While Progestogen-only pills contain only progesterone or one of its synthetic analogues (progestins) which reduce the frequency of ovulation, most of them rely more heavily on changes in cervical mucus.
Combined oral contraceptive pills
Combined oral contraceptive pill (COCPs) or simply the pills is the most popular form of hormonal contraception and is taken once a day for 21 days followed by a seven-day break, although other regimens are also used.
Progestogen-only oral contraceptive pills
The progestogen only pill or POP is taken once per day within the same three-hour window. Several different formulations of POP are marketed. A low-dose formulation is known as the minipill. Unlike COCPs progestogen-only pills are taken every day with no breaks or placebos. For women not using ongoing hormonal contraception, progestogen-only pills may be taken after intercourse as emergency contraception. There are a number of dedicated products sold for this purpose.
Ormeloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) in the form of pill that is taken once per week.
Note: Oral contraceptive pill and other form of hormonal contraceptives are associated with some health risk and women are advisable to consult their local health center before using them.