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      Evaluation of extended and continuous use oral contraceptives

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          Abstract

          Oral contraceptives are classically given in a cyclic manner with 21 days of active pills followed by 7 days of placebo. In the past 4 years, new oral contraceptives have been introduced which either shorten the placebo time, lengthen the active pills (extended cycle), or provide active pills every day (continuous). These concepts are not new; extended and continuous pills were first studied in the 1960s and 1970s and have been provided in an off-label manner by gynecologists to treat menstrual disorders, such as menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea, and gynecologic disorders, such as endometriosis. Now that extended and continuous combined oral contraceptives are available for all patients, it is critical for providers to understand the physiology, dosing, side effects, and benefits of this form of oral contraceptive. This article reviews the history and the potential uses of the new continuous combined oral contraceptive.

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          Most cited references 43

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          New progestagens for contraceptive use.

          The progestins have different pharmacologic properties depending upon the parent molecule, usually testosterone or progesterone (P), from which they are derived. Very small structural changes in the parent molecule may induce considerable differences in the activity of the derivative. In hormonal contraceptives, progestins represent the major agent designed for suppressing ovulation and are used in combination with estrogen (E) usually ethinyl-estradiol (EE). The development of new generations of progestins with improved selectivity profiles has been a great challenge. Steroidal and nonsteroidal progesterone receptor (PR) agonists have been synthesized as well, although the latter are still in a very early stage of development. Several new progestins, have been synthesized in the last two decades. These include dienogest (DNG), drospirenone (DRSP), Nestorone (NES), nomegestrol acetate (NOMAc) and trimegestone (TMG). These new progestins have been designed to have no androgenic or estrogenic actions and to be closer in activity to the physiological hormone P. DRSP differs from the classic progestins as it is derived from spirolactone. It is essentially an antimineralocorticoid steroid with no androgenic effect but a partial antiandrogenic effect. The antiovulatory potency of the different progestins varies. TMG and NES are the most potent progestins synthesized to date, followed by two of the older progestins, keto-desogestrel (keto-DSG) and levonorgestrel (LNG). The new molecules TMG, DRSP and DNG also have antiandrogenic activity. Striking differences exist regarding the side effects among the progestins and the combination with EE leads to other reactions related to the E itself and whether the associated progestin counterbalances, more or less, the estrogenic action. The 19-norprogesterone molecules and the new molecules DRSP and DNG are not androgenic and, therefore, have no negative effect on the lipid profile. Given their pharmacological properties, it is likely that the new progestins may have neutral effects on metabolic or vascular risks. However, this hypothesis must be confirmed in large clinical trials.
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            Preferred frequency and characteristics of menstrual bleeding in relation to reproductive status, oral contraceptive use, and hormone replacement therapy use.

            This study addresses attitudes towards changes in menstrual bleeding patterns caused by oral contraceptives (OC) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and preferred changes in bleeding pattern with and without use of OC or HRT in relation to reproductive age group. Data were collected by means of telephone interviews with 325 women in each of four age groups (15-19, 25-34, 45-49, and 52-57 years). In total, 80.5% of currently menstruating women preferred one or more changes in bleeding pattern such as less painful, shorter, or less heavy periods, or amenorrhea. The majority of the menstruating women in all age groups preferred to have a bleeding frequency of less than once a month or never, whether the bleeding was spontaneous or induced by OC. In the case of HRT, amenorrhea was most preferred. These findings with respect to preferred bleeding frequency and OC may have important implications for health care providers and for future contraception development.
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              Continuous use of an oral contraceptive for endometriosis-associated recurrent dysmenorrhea that does not respond to a cyclic pill regimen.

               P Vercellini (2003)
              To ascertain whether long-term reduction of pain is obtained by continuous administration of an oral contraceptive (OC) in women with endometriosis-associated recurrent dysmenorrhea that does not respond to cyclic OC use. Prospective, therapeutic, self-controlled clinical trial. A tertiary care and referral center for patients with endometriosis. Fifty women who underwent surgery for endometriosis in the previous year and experienced recurrent dysmenorrhea despite cyclic OC use. Continuous use of an OC containing ethinyl estradiol (0.02 mg) and desogestrel (0.15 mg) for 2 years. Dysmenorrhea variation during cyclic and continuous OC use, evaluated with a 100-mm visual analog scale and a 0- to 3-point verbal rating scale, and degree of satisfaction with continuous OC treatment. In the study period, amenorrhea, spotting, and breakthrough bleeding were reported by 19 (38%), 18 (36%), and 13 (26%) women. The mean +/- SD number of >7-day bleeding episodes with consequent 7-day OC suspension was 5.5 +/- 2.1. The mean +/- SD dysmenorrhea visual analog scale and verbal rating scale scores were 75 +/- 13 and 2.4 +/- 0.5 at baseline and 31 +/- 17 and 0.7 +/- 0.6 at 2-year follow-up, respectively. Moderate or severe side effects were reported by 7/50 (14%) women. At final evaluation, 13 (26%) women were very satisfied, 27 (54%) were satisfied, 1 (2%) was uncertain, 8 (16%) were dissatisfied, and 1 (2%) was very dissatisfied. Long-term continuous OC use can be proposed to women with symptomatic endometriosis and menstruation-related pain symptoms.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                October 2008
                October 2008
                : 4
                : 5
                : 905-911
                Affiliations
                University of Vermont College of Medicine and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Women’s Health Care Services, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Kristen Page Wright, University of Vermont College of Medicine and Reproductive, Endocrinology and Infertility, Women’s Health Care Services, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT USA, Email kristen.wright1@ 123456vtmednet.org
                Article
                tcrm-4-905
                2621397
                19209272
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                dosage, menstrual disturbances, adverse effects, administration, oral contraceptives

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