Amethyst Birth Control Pill Side Effects and Uses

A Generic Version of the Continuous Birth Control Pill Lybrel

Amethyst birth control is a low-dose, continuous combination pill that contains levonorgestrel, a progestin, as well as ethinyl estradiol, an estrogen. While it will not offer you any protection against sexually transmitted infections, it may be used to help:

  • Prevent pregnancy
  • Regulate periods and decrease period-related symptoms, like painful cramps
  • Lower the chances of experiencing certain conditions
  • Treat acne
Amethyst continuous birth control pills with packaging
Dawn Stacey

Amethyst birth control is the generic version of Lybrel. While no longer available, Lybrel was the first extended-cycle oral contraceptive designed to supply you with an active dose of hormones every day.

This article discusses the uses, dosage, benefits, and side effects of Amethyst birth control pills.

Amethyst Birth Control Uses

Amethyst birth control is 91% to 99.7% effective at preventing pregnancy.

This means that with typical use, only 9 out of every 100 individuals will become pregnant during the first year of use. With perfect use, less than 1 will become pregnant during the first year of using Amethyst birth control.

In addition to preventing pregnancy, regulating your period, decreasing period-related symptoms, and treating acne, Amethyst birth control may also decrease the incidence of:

Amethyst Birth Control Dosage

Each pack of Amethyst birth control contains 28 tablets (90 micrograms levonorgestrel/20 microgram ethinyl estradiol). One pill will need to be taken every day at the same time if possible.

Amethyst birth control supplies a steady, low dose of ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. Unlike some other birth control pills, Amethyst birth control does not contain any inactive tablets—so there is no placebo period.

Surrounding Debate

Some claim that it is harmful to manipulate the menstrual cycle by completely stopping periods. However, anyone who uses birth control pills is already manipulating their menstrual cycle to be a 28-day cycle. Few individuals naturally have a regular 28-day menstrual cycle; you're considered "regular" if you get your period every 24-38 days.

Those who use birth control pills do not have a period. What you actually experience each month when you take the placebo pills is called withdrawal bleeding. The bleeding tends to be shorter and lighter than a regular period because the uterine lining does not build up. When you use Amethyst, you get continuous hormones, so you should have little or no uterine bleeding.

Withdrawal bleeding actually has no medical function other than reassuring you that you are not pregnant. The researchers who invented birth control pills back in the 1960s thought that individuals would be more likely to take them and the church would be more accepting of them if they included a period week.

For decades, healthcare providers have been showing individuals how to skip their periods properly. This may be done by starting a new pill pack during the fourth week (when your period usually occurs).


Advantages and benefits of Amethyst birth control:

  • Medical authorities state that there are no health risks or medical reasons individuals need to have a monthly period.
  • Eliminating the menstrual week of an individual's cycle can lead to a reduction or complete elimination of the symptoms associated with your period.
  • In general, eliminating periods through the use of continuous oral contraceptives has been shown to be an effective treatment for many conditions, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and epilepsy.
  • The use of Amethyst birth control may save you some money, as you may not need to buy as many or any period related products and/or medications.


Downsides of using Amethyst birth control include:

  • Some individuals may find that a monthly period provides reassurance about fertility and not being pregnant.
  • The continuous exposure to hormones associated with Amethyst birth control has been a source of concern for some people. But, many healthcare providers note that seven additional days of low-dose hormones per month is unlikely to significantly increase any risks beyond those already faced by individuals taking other types of combination birth control.
  • Approximately 1% to 8% of oral contraceptive users become pregnant each year. Those who are taking Amethyst birth control may not recognize pregnancy-related symptoms and cannot rely on a missing period to alert them of a pregnancy.
  • The low doses of hormones used in Amethyst birth control may cause breakthrough bleeding (unexpected spotting). In one study, 49% of continuous oral contraceptive users ceased having a period by cycle two of use, and 88% didn't have a period by cycle 12.

Amethyst Birth Control Side Effects

Amethyst birth control has the same side effects as other combination hormonal methods. Serious complications are not common with oral contraceptive use.

All oral contraceptives, Amethyst included, carry a greater chance of negative outcomes in:

  • Individuals who smoke
  • Individuals age 35 and older
  • Individuals who have conditions associated with a heart attack, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and conditions that increase the risk of blood clotting

Getting and Filling a Prescription

In order to obtain a prescription for the Amethyst birth control, you will most likely need a medical evaluation, blood pressure check, and possibly a pelvic exam by a physician. Individuals can then have the prescription filled at a local pharmacy.

Amethyst may be purchased at a drugstore or clinic with a valid prescription. You should check with your health insurance policy as Amethyst should be covered with no out-of-pocket costs for all non-grandfathered insurance plans.


Amethyst birth control is a low-dose, continuous combination pill that contains a progestin and an estrogen. It may be used to help prevent pregnancy, lower the incidence of certain conditions, treat acne, as well as help regulate periods and decrease period-related symptoms.

One pill needs to be taken every day around the same time. Amethyst birth control, like other birth control methods, comes with benefits, risks, and certain side effects that you should discuss with your healthcare provider if you plan on using this specific birth control.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Słopień R, Milewska E, Rynio P, Męczekalski B. Use of oral contraceptives for management of acne vulgaris and hirsutism in women of reproductive and late reproductive agePrz Menopauzalny. 2018;17(1):1-4. doi:10.5114/pm.2018.74895

  3. Demaria AL, Sundstrom B, Meier S, Wiseley A. The myth of menstruation: how menstrual regulation and suppression impact contraceptive choice. BMC Womens Health. 2019;19(1):125. doi:10.1186/s12905-019-0827-x.

  4. Office on Women's Health. Menstrual cycle.

  5. Dhont M. History of oral contraception. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2010;15(Suppl 2):S12-S18. doi:10.3109/13625187.2010.513071

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Additional Reading

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.