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INDIAN JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. 1988 Apr; 26(4):243-51.A comprehensive review of the immunobiology of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), including the structure of both alpha and beta chains, immunogenicity of various segments and epitopes of each, secretion and function of the hormone, determinants of receptor recognition, and finally, clinical studies of possible contraceptive beta-hCG-based vaccines, is presented. hCG is composed of 2 glycosylated peptides. The alpha subunit is identical to that found in hLH, hFSH and hTSH. The beta subunit, which is limiting in the sense that it is secreted in smaller amounts, defines the biological activity of hCG. hCG is secreted throughout pregnancy from 170 hours after fertilization to a peak at 8-10 weeks of and is essential for maintenance of early pregnancy by progesterone secreted by the corpus luteum. Although native hCG evokes antibodies, they cross react with LH, so such a vaccine would not be useful for contraception. Beta-hCG has been purified and also produced by monoclonal antibodies, and shown to produce antibodies and infertility in baboons. Phase I clinical trials of immunologically purified beta-hCG complexed to tetanus toxoid were conducted on 63 women in an international study in the mid-1970s, but results were mixed in terms of antibody titer and duration. New vaccines have been designed based on more sophisticated adjuvants, beta- hCG-terminal peptides, and polyvalent vaccines and are being tested in 4 Phase I trials currently, sponsored by the Population Council, the Indian government-sponsored program, and the WHO.
In: Advances in international maternal and child health. Volume 7. 1987, edited by D.B. Jelliffe and E.F.P. Jelliffe. Oxford, England, Clarendon Press, 1987. 170-9.General principles of the WHO Essential Drug List (EDL) and the International Non-Proprietary Names (INN) list and their application to maternal and child health are summarized. 8 principles of good prescribing habits are introduced, such as careful dosing for infants, children, pregnant or lactating women, elderly, or those with liver or kidney disease. Most INN drug names are identical to the generic names used in the country of origin, but some are coined from common chemical or pharmacological stems. Drugs for pregnant women should be limited in number, and used with care since almost all cross the placenta and may not be tolerated by the fetus with its immature liver and kidneys. The most serious reason for restricting certain drug intake by pregnant women is the risk of teratogenicity, particularly in the 1st trimester. Potential teratogens include antiepileptics, barbiturates, cytotoxics, anticoagulants, and female sex hormones. Salicylates should not be taken near term. Opioid analgesics should not be used during labor. Drugs dangerous for the infant during breastfeeding include high dose oral contraceptives, the antithyroid drugs thiouracil and iodine, diazepam and lithium. Education and training in pharmacokinetics for personnel in maternal-child health should be included. Fixed combinations of drugs are not advisable: out of 220 drugs in the EDL, there are only 11 drug combinations.