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Outlook. 1984 Dec; 2(4):4.Recent recommendations and statements issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) on the prescribing of oral contraceptives (OC) are briefly summarized. These statements reflect a growing concern about the effect of OCs on lipid metabalism. The FDA recommended prescribing OCs with the lowest effective dosage levels of progresterone and estrogen. According to the FDA's Fertility and Maternal Health Drugs Advisory Committee, OCs containing high doese of estrogens and progestins increse the risk of vascular disease. The National _medical Committee of PPFA recommede that the prescribing of high dosages of progestogens should be avoided whenever possible. The committee identified maximum dosage levels for progestogens. These maximum dosages were 1 mg for norethindrone, .5 mg for norethindrone acetate, 1 mbg for ethynodiol diacetate, .3 mg for norgestrel, and .15 mg for levonorgestrel. The committee noted that if progestogen levels are too low, breakthrough bleeding and contraceptive failure are more likely to occur. The International Medical Advisory Panel of IPPF recently issued a statement on lipid changes associated with progestogens. The panel noted that recent studies have shown that progestogens are associated with a decrease in high density lipoprotein cholesterol and an increse in low density lipoprotein cholesterol; however, the panel also noted that the subjects in the studies were given high doses of progestogens and that the studies were conducted in developed countries with high rates of obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Contraception. 1982 Mar; 25(3):231-41.A randomized, controlled, clinical trial comparing 6 combined oral contraceptives (OCs) with 50 mcg or less of ethinyl estradiol was undertaken in 10 WHO Collaborating Centers for Clinical Research in Human Reproduction. A total of 2430 women entered the trial and were observed for 28,077 woman-cycles. All low-dose combined OCs demonstrated equivalent efficacy with 1-year pregnancy rates of 1-6%. However, discontinuation rates for medical reasons differed significantly between the treatment groups with the preparation containing 20 mcg ethinyl estradiol and that containing 400 mcg norethisterone acetate being associated with higher discontinuation rates due to bleeding disturbances. Even among the preparations which did not differ in discontinuation rates, the reasons for discontinuation did differ. Women receiving norethisterone preparations tended to discontinue because of bleeding disturbances while those receiving the levonorgestrel-containing preparations tended to discontinue because of complaints of nausea and vomiting. (author's)