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Dr. Ratnabali Chakravorty


Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) consist of estrogen and progestogen components. There is a vast difference between the original COC and the current forms of COC. This difference includes two major features, first is the reduction in the amount of estrogen per dose and second, the use of new generations of progestin. Ethinylestradiol remains the predominant estrogen component over the last five decades since the introduction of COCs. Desogestrel is a newer progestin that has high binding affinity to progesterone receptors with minimal androgenic effects. This review highlights the efficacy and safety of a widely used monophasic pill containing ethinylestradiol and desogestrel. Moreover, the review summarizes the clinical evidences of non-contraceptive health benefits of ethinylestradiol and desogestrel (EE/DSG). EE/DSG is widely prescribed globally for contraception. There are numerous clinical trials that support its reliability, acceptability and safety. The Pearl index of EE+DSG ranges from 0.00 to 0.20. COCs are well known to provide various health benefits beyond contraception. Important effects on the reproductive system include relief from distressing symptoms associated with menstruation such as heavy periods, painful periods and irregular bleeding. COCs are also used to treat acne, hirsutism and symptomatic endometriosis.

Keywords: Combined oral contraceptives; Heavy menstrual bleeding; Endometriosis; Contraception

Published Aug 6, 2019

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