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Contraception. 1993 Jan;47(1):23-35.

A multicenter clinical trial of a progestin-only oral contraceptive in lactating women.

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Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.


A non-comparative study of a progestin-only oral contraceptive (POC) containing 75 micrograms norgestrel was conducted at 22 sites in 14 countries. This study was designed to evaluate safety, contraceptive efficacy, and the overall acceptability of a POC in breastfeeding women. A total of 4,088 women entered the study over a three-year period and 29,399 woman-months of experience was gathered. Women had follow-up visits at 2, 6, and 11 months after admission. Headaches and vaginal discharge were the medical complaints most commonly reported by women, both prior to and after admission. Menstrual problems were reported by 59% of the women after admission. Of the 3,714 women who returned for at least one follow-up visit, 1,101 (29.6%) discontinued through month 11. The 11-month total discontinuation percentage, including those lost to follow-up (25.3%) was 51.6%. The most common reason given for discontinuation was a woman's desire for a change in contraceptive method. Only 4.9% discontinued pill use for menstrual problems, a percentage far below those generally reported for POCs. Twenty-nine unintended pregnancies occurred through 11 months giving a gross cumulative life table rate of 1.2 per 100 women (Pearl Index = 1.4). The POC appears to be a safe, effective and acceptable contraceptive option for postpartum breastfeeding women.

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