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History of oral contraceptive drugs and their use worldwide.

Review article
Christin-Maitre S. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013.


The first hormonal pill, called Enovid(®), was approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in May 1960. It contained mestranol and norethisterone. Over the years, oral contraceptives have evolved through gradual lowering of ethinyl estradiol (EE) content, introduction of 17β estradiol, and many different progestins. The standard regimen allows for 21 days of pill containing steroids and a pill-free interval of 7 days. Recently, continuous or extended regimens have been approved. In order to improve compliance, alternative routes of combined oral contraceptive (COC) administration have been developed such as vaginal or transdermal routes. In 2009, according to the United Nations, the mean global percentage using contraception in women who are married or in union was 62.7%. COC represented 8.8% of contraceptive prevalence, reaching 15.4% in more developed countries. More than 100 million women worldwide use COCs. However, each year, many unintended pregnancies occur, indicating that contraception still needs to be promoted.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


23384741 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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