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Contraception. 2013 Sep;88(3):364-8. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.09.003. Epub 2013 Jun 13.

Effect of a new oral contraceptive with estradiol valerate/dienogest on carbohydrate metabolism.

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Department of Molecular and Development Medicine, University of Siena, Italy.



Insulin resistance may be induced by both the estrogen and progestin component in hormonal contraception. When estrogen dose is reduced from 50 to 20 mcg, the extent of hyperinsulinemia decreases. Recently, the oral combination contraceptive (COC) containing estradiol valerate (E2V) in combination with dienogest (DNG) was developed in a new estrogen step-down, progesterone step-up dosing strategy (Qlaira, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals). This study was conducted to evaluate of the effect of a 3-month treatment with E2V/DNG on carbohydrate metabolism in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance.


Study consisted of subjects attending the gynecological clinic of Siena or Pisa, with PCOS and insulin resistance, and without contraindications for the use of COCs. PCOS females (n=20) aged 18 to 33 years were treated with a contraceptive formulation containing E2V/DNG for 3 months. Before treatment and during the third month of therapy, body mass index (BMI) measurement and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) were performed.


Median values of insulin after treatment were lower than median values before treatment. In particular, the median value of insulin at T0 was reduced by 54.6% (p<.001), and the mean difference between time 0 and 30 min was significantly reduced [42.96 (9.99) mU/mL vs 38.00 (15.10) mU/mL; p<.05]. Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance levels were significantly decreased following treatment. OGTT after treatment revealed median fasting glucose levels to be stable (p=.895) at T0. At T30, T60, T120 and T180 min, glucose median values were moderately reduced in comparison to median values before treatment. No significant difference was observed between median BMI values before [26 (4.8) kg/m(2)] and after treatment [26 (3.7) kg/m(2)].


Median insulin levels at T0 and the mean difference between time 0 and 30 of insulin following OGTT were significantly reduced than values before treatment with E2V/DNG for 3 months. Median BMI and glucose levels were not significantly modified. Natural estradiol and nonandrogenic progestogen in the Qlaira formulation could be recommended as an oral contraceptive in women with PCOS who are insulin resistant or who are overweight.


Carbohydrate metabolism; Contraception; Dienogest; Estradiol valerate; Insulin sensitivity

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