Seasonale (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) is a new form of the birth control pill brought to you by Barr Laboratories, Inc. It has been approved by the FDA and will be available by prescription at the end of October 2003.
Seasonale delivers the same hormones into the body as traditional oral contraceptives. With Seasonale, those hormones are taken in the form of a single pill every day for 84 days, followed by a week of placebo or reminder pills. This leads to having a period (if one can call it that, as the bleeding experienced while on the pill is not true menstruation) four times a year. Other oral contraceptives offer a 21 day bout of hormones followed by a week of placebo pills, leading to having a "period" about once a month.
The most common reported side effects for Seasonale are headaches, nasopharyngitis, and bleeding and spotting between periods. Seasonale carries the same risks of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks as other oral contraceptives.