Birth Control With A Boost

new pill screen grab 2 CBS

When growing up, Rosa Nolasco and her friends called menstruation, "the monster."

Her period was so bad it became her monthly menace. The 39-year-old mother of four suffered all the classic symptoms of PMS. Then she took Lybrel.

"It was just no cramping, no bloating, no chocolate craving or any of that stuff," Nolasco tells CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

Lybrel is a new kind of birth-control pill that not only prevents pregnancy, it eliminates periods. Period.

Dr. Anne Davis led a clinical trial on the drug.

"What women need to know about Lybrel that makes it different from other pills is that it's something you take every day," Davis says. "There's no week off as there is with traditional birth control."

Doctors studying the new pill say it's no riskier than the traditional pill. But medical researcher Linda Andrist would like to see more studies on its long-term safety.

"We don't know about bone health, breast cancer, heart disease, strokes — especially for young women," Andrist says.

The very idea of this drug makes some women nervous.

"Maybe it would be better to let nature run its course," one woman says.

"I feel that's slightly unnatural, and it would be a little unnerving," says another.

The fact is, women have been manipulating their menstrual cycles with birth control pills for the last 40 years. All forms of the pill work by stopping ovulation and suppressing periods.

There's already a pill that limits menstruation to four times per year. Lybrel will be marketed as the next step.

"I would call it more of an evolution, not a revolution," Davis tells Miller.

It's one with big business potential. One-third of women in one survey said they would like to say good-bye to what they call the monthly curse.

"It makes life a lot more convenient," one woman says.

That may be the real attraction to women — the ability to make periods a lifestyle choice and not just a fact of life.
  • Christine Lagorio

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