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Antivir Ther. 2011;16(2):157-64. doi: 10.3851/IMP1724.

The effect of atazanavir/ritonavir on the pharmacokinetics of an oral contraceptive containing ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate in healthy women.

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Research and Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ, USA.



Coadministration of oral contraceptives with protease inhibitors is complicated by drug interactions. An open-label three-period single-sequence study assessed the effect of coadministration of atazanavir (ATV)/ritonavir (RTV) with Ortho Tri-Cyclen(®) and with Ortho Tri-Cyclen(®) LO (Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Raritan, NJ, USA) on the pharmacokinetics (PK) of ethinyl estradiol (EE), norgestimate (NGM), ATV and RTV.


A total of 20 healthy women aged 18-45 years received study treatments. In the lead-in period and in period 1, participants received a full cycle of Ortho Tri-Cyclen (EE 35 μg with NGM 0.18/0.215/0.25 mg) from days 1-28. In period 2, participants received a full cycle of Ortho Tri-Cyclen LO (EE 25 μg with NGM 0.18/0.215/0.25 mg) plus ATV/RTV (300/100 mg once daily) on days 29-42. PK assessments were performed on days 14 and 42 in periods 1 and 2, respectively.


ATV/RTV with dose-normalized EE/NGM resulted in geometric mean reductions of 16% in EE peak plasma concentration (C(max)), 19% in EE area under the concentration-time curve for a dosing interval (AUC([τ])) and 37% in EE lowest plasma concentration (C(min)), compared with EE 35 μg with NGM in the absence of ATV/RTV. NGM with EE and ATV/RTV 300/100 mg once daily resulted in increases of approximately 68%, 85% and 102% in 17-deacetyl NGM C(max), AUC((τ)) and C(min), respectively. Two participants discontinued the study because of adverse events.


ATV/RTV with Ortho Tri-Cyclen was well-tolerated and reductions in EE were not predicted to decrease contraceptive efficacy if the formulation contained ≥30 μg of EE.

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