Author(s): Rossmanith WG, Steffens D, Schramm G
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Abstract In a double-blind randomized study, the suppression of ovarian activity and anti-conceptive effects on the cervix and endometrium were assessed during administration of two low-dose monophasic oral contraceptives (20 micrograms ethinyl estradiol [EE], 500 micrograms norethisterone--Eve 20 [Grünenthal, Aachen, Germany]; 20 micrograms EE, 150 micrograms desogestrel --Lovelle [Organon, Munich, Germany]). One hundred eighteen healthy women (ages: 18-35 years) were studied in 10 investigation centers during medication with either Eve 20 (n = 59) or Lovelle (n = 59). During three treatment cycles, ovarian activity was evaluated by sonographic determination of follicle-like structures (FLS) and by simultaneous assessment of serum endocrine profiles (gonadotropins LH and FSH, ovarian steroids estradiol [E2] and progesterone [P]). While on either treatment, no ovarian activity (as judged by no FLS and/or reduced sex steroid levels) was found in 90.8\% (Eve 20) and 97.2\% (Lovelle) of all investigated cycles. Follicular activity or cyst formation were detected in 18 of 173 cycles (Eve 20) and in 5 of 175 cycles (Lovelle), respectively. Gonadotropin levels were suppressed (LH < 6 IU/L, FSH < 8 IU/L) in most treatment cycles (Eve 20 76.6\% vs. Lovelle: 84.8\%). Serum E2 concentrations exceeding 0.1 nmol/L indicated residual follicular activity in 19.3\% (Eve 20) versus 12.2\% (Lovelle) of all cycles. An estimated by serum P levels over 5 nmol/L, ovulation had presumably occurred in 4.1\% (Eve 20) versus 2.9\% (Lovelle) of treatment cycles. However, when the sonographical and endocrinological data were combined, no ovulation was documented in any pill cycle. The quality and quantity of the cervical mucus was found to be minimal in the majority of women. Moreover, the endometrial layer was determined to be low by ultrasound during most pill cycles, indicating equally strong suppressive effects on endometrial receptivity by the two contraceptives. These observations suggest that ovarian activity is suppressed in the majority of cycles during use of low-dose contraceptives. This effect may mainly be medicated by pronounced suppression of serum gonadotropin levels. Strong anti-conceptive effects of these formulations on both cervical permeability and endometrial receptivity are additional factors ensuring the contraceptive efficacy of these formulations. PIP: The impact of two low-dose monophasic oral contraceptives (OCs) on suppression of ovarian activity, cervical permeability, and endometrial receptivity was investigated in a randomized double-blind study involving 118 healthy women 18-35 years of age recruited from 10 study centers in Germany. 59 women received Eve (20 mcg of ethinyl estradiol and 500 mcg of norethisterone) and 59 were given Lovelle (20 mcg of ethinyl estradiol and 150 mcg of desogestrel) for a total of 3 cycles. No ovarian activity, as assessed by sonographic determinations of follicle-like structures and serum endocrine profiles, was detected in 90.8\% of cycles of Eve users and 97.2\% of cycles in the Lovelle group. Follicular activity or cyst formation was found in 18 of 173 cycles of Eve users and 5 of 175 cycles of Lovelle users. Gonadotropin levels were suppressed (luteinizing hormone under 6 IU/L and follicle-stimulating hormone less than 8 IU/L) in 76.6\% of treatment cycles in the Eve group and 84.8\% of cycles in the Lovelle group. Serum estradiol concentrations exceeding 0.1 nmol/L, indicative of follicular activity, were recorded in 19.3\% of cycles of Eve users and 12.2\% of cycles in the Lovelle group. Although serum progesterone levels were over 5 nmol/L in 4.1\% of cycles in the Eve group and 2.9\% of those in the Lovelle group, consolidation of sonographic and endocrinologic data failed to document ovulation in any treatment cycles. The quantity and quality of cervical mucus was minimal in most women in both groups. Finally, the endometrial layer was determined to be low by ultrasonography during most pill cycles, confirming the OCs' equally strong suppressive effects on endometrial receptivity.
This article was published in Contraception
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability