The combined oral contraceptive pill is the most popular contraception in Australia. It’s less invasive than implants or devices that need to be fitted in the arm or uterus, making it an attractive option for many women.
There are more than 30 types of oral contraceptive pills. Different types and brands of contraceptive pill contain different types and doses of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone.
But brand names such as Microgynon, Levlen, Yaz, Brenda and Norimin give little indication of the ingredients, dose or who should use them.
When looking for the right pill, women want to weigh up the cost, safety, efficacy and side effects of the pill. Some women might also be seeking non-contraceptive benefits, such as treatment for acne, pre-menstrual syndrome, heavy or painful periods, endometriosis, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
And at less than A$120 a year (A$20 a year for concession card holders), they are the cheapest.
The newer and more expensive pills claim to be superior in reducing acne, PMS or menstrual bleeding, which is why they end up being prescribed. But all contraceptive pills have these advantages, and the evidence for supporting one over the other is limited or conflicting.
You’ll pay up to A$360 per year for non-PBS prescriptions.