The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first four-phase oral contraceptive to be marketed in the US.
Natazia, made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, works by releasing two female hormones – a synthetic estrogen called estradiol valerate and a progestin called dienoges – into the body over a set period of time.
The pill has already been licensed in Europe, where it is sold under the name Qlaira.
FDA officials said two studies of the treatment involving a total of 1,867 women found the drug was effective.
Side effects include irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, weight gain and acne.
A spokesman for Bayer said: “We are very pleased that now women in the US have the option to choose our new oral contraceptive Natazia as an effective option for the prevention of pregnancy.
“We are also working with the FDA on an indication for menstrual bleeding disorders to offer women a tailored therapy for this debilitating condition.”
The pill is expected to be made available this summer.
Copyright Press Association 2010