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A new birth control pill called Lybrel, which also prevents women from having menstrual periods, received FDA approval last week.

The low-dose oral contraceptive has received mixed reviews from skeptical consumers and doctors. While some herald the new drug as a freeing, liberating pill that puts an end to the discomforts of cramps, bloating and the like, others say it is unnatural and may have side effects down the road.

A report from highlights the debate:

“It’s actually abnormal for a woman not on birth control to miss periods or not have regular cycles. It’s not healthy for them,” said Martin. “But because the pill balances it hormonally, it is OK for them not to get a monthly cycle.”

But those like medical researcher Linda Andrist want more study on Lybrel’s long term safety.

“We don’t know about bone health, breast cancer, heart disease, strokes especially for young women,” said Andrist.

Lybrel is expected to be available at pharmacies by summer 2007.

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