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What Is a Triphasic Birth Control Pill?

Dr. Betty Acker

Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on December 21, 2020

All birth control pills work by altering the body’s level of naturally occurring sex hormones like estrogen and progestin. Different types of birth control pills, however, deliver those hormones differently. Triphasic birth control pills are one of the several kinds of widely-available birth control, and learning about these pills can help you determine whether they’re the right kind of pill for you.

How does triphasic birth control work?

Triphasic birth control pills, like many other forms of hormonal birth control, work by altering your body’s levels of estrogen and progestin. These hormones work in combination to prevent ovulation, thin the lining of the uterine wall, and thicken the cervical mucus — all of which significantly lower the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Triphasic birth control pills can also reduce the chance of developing ovarian cysts and help regulate the menstrual cycle. 

Triphasic vs. Biphasic vs. Monophasic

What differentiates triphasic birth control from other types of pills is the hormone levels contained within each dose. Triphasic pills do just what they sound like they do: split every month’s worth of pills into three phases, each with a different concentration of estrogen and progestin. At the end of the three phases, there are seven days’ worth of placebo pills to take before restarting the cycle.

Triphasic birth control pills were developed in order to more closely mimic the body’s natural hormone cycle, peaking in some moments while being lower in others. As a result, some women may have an easier time adjusting to triphasic birth control than to other pills. 

Biphasic birth control pills also vary in hormone levels, but they are divided into two phases instead of three. Monophasic birth control pills contain a single, static level of hormones that remain unchanged while you take them. All of these birth control pill types are highly effective and extremely safe, but some may suit certain women better than others. 

Is triphasic birth control better?

Triphasic pills are often the type prescribed for reducing the severity of acne. No two women are alike, however, so many women will find themselves better suited to biphasic pills, monophasic pills, or another form of birth control entirely.

While different women will have different reactions to various types of birth control, it’s important to note that side effects can accompany all types of pill for the first few months of usage. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which forms of birth control will work best for you.

How effective are triphasic birth control pills?

If taken as prescribed, triphasic birth control pills are up to 99% effective. With regular usage, that number drops to about 91% — lower, but still extremely effective. This isn’t just true of triphasic pills: all birth control pills — monophasic, biphasic, and triphasic — are equally effective when taken properly. In order to maximize effectiveness, the pill must be taken every single day.

Because they contain estrogen, people who smoke and are over the age of 35 and those who experience migraine with aura are advised not to take triphasic birth control pills. For those women, the progestin-only birth control pill or “mini-pill” is the most common choice. 

What are triphasic birth control brands?

Some common brands of triphasic birth control pills include:

  • Enpresse
  • Levonest
  • Triphasil-28
  • Trivora
  • Myzilra
  • Triquilar ED
  • Trivora
  • Tri-Levlen
  • Ortho-Novum 777

Getting Triphasic Birth Control from Nurx

Nurx offers more than 100 different types of birth control to choose from, including triphasic pills. If you’re still on the fence about what type of birth control is right for you, don’t worry — our birth control experts here at Nurx can help you figure out what your path forward should look like. Get in contact with our medical team today in order to learn what options are available to you. 

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