Seasonique is a newer type of contraceptive that promises women only four periods a year. Most traditional contraceptives provide three weeks of active pills and one week of inactive ones, but Seasonique offers 12 weeks of active pills and one week of progesterone-free pills, which means you only have a period every 13 weeks. I'm one of those lucky females who has a hard time taking combined contraceptive pills without having migraines. I usually get migraines during the week of inactive pills. I've tried lots of different types of birth control over the years, including the shot, the patch, and the mini-pill. I was prescribed Seasonique in August 2009 not only as a contraceptive but also as a way to reduce the frequency of my migraines.
I printed off a coupon from the Seasonique website before I filled my prescription, and you might consider doing the same thing. My insurance company considers it a three-month supply, so my co-pay was $150 before the coupon ($50 co-pay/month). Because Seasonique is newer, there is no generic version available. I got $50 off with the coupon, but $100 bucks for three months of birth control is kind of pricey. The second refill for another three-month supply cost me $125, because the coupon was only good for $25 off. I will be paying the full $150 for my next pack. However, I know a lot of people aren't fortunate enough to have health insurance, so I can't really complain. And I will pay a little more if I don't have to worry about migraines.
Seasonique is not packaged very discreetly. The pack I got was green plastic and ¾ of an inch thick. It is divided into three sections for the three months. The case doesn't fit very well in most purses, so I just pull out the foil card with four weeks' worth of pills and keep that in my purse.
You take the same dose every day for 12 weeks; those pills contain 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol. After 12 weeks, you have one week of yellow pills with only 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol. This is also the last week of your pack, so most women will have withdrawal bleeding during this time.
The package insert and Seasonique's website both warn women that they may experience breakthrough bleeding during the first 12 weeks. This is less likely to happen if you make sure to take your pill at the exact same time each day. I haven't had any bleeding so far, and right now I'm on week 12. My acne has also improved on Seasonique, which is another added benefit.
I have also read that if you need emergency contraception (the morning-after pill), you can take four active Seasonique pills. I haven't tried this, so I don't have any more to say about it.
As far as contraception itself goes, so far, so good. Like most other combined pills, Seasonique prevents pregnancy in over 99% of users when taken properly. Of course, if you are taking antibiotics or you miss a pill, you should use an additional form of protection to prevent pregnancy. Birth control is a highly individual choice, and two women taking the same exact prescription can have drastically different results/side effects. But I would recommend Seasonique if you don't have any risk factors to contraindicate combined contraception, and you'd like to reduce your cycles to only four per year.