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The effect of food on the bioavailability of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol from norethindrone acetate/ethinyl estradiol tablets intended for continuous hormone replacement therapy.

Author(s): Boyd RA, Zegarac EA, Eldon MA

Affiliation(s): Departments of Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, Pfizer Global Research and Development, 2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.

Publication date & source: 2003-01, J Clin Pharmacol., 43(1):52-8.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

As part of the development of a combination product containing norethindrone acetate and low-dose ethinyl estradiol for continuous hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women, a study was conducted to determine the effect of a high-fat meal on the bioavailability of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol from tablets containing 1 mg norethindrone acetate/10 micrograms ethinyl estradiol. Eighteen healthy postmenopausal women participated in an open-label, single-dose, randomized, three-way crossover study in which 2 x 1/10 norethindrone acetate/ethinyl estradiol tablets were administered fasting and with a high-fat breakfast, and the same dose was administered in solution. Following each treatment, serial blood samples were collected for 48 hours, and plasma ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone concentrations were determined by a validated gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) method. Individual plasma ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated by noncompartmental methods for each treatment and analyzed by ANOVA to obtain differences between least squares treatment mean values and associated 90% confidence intervals. Rates of ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone availability from tablets administered with food were slower than availability rates from tablets administered while fasting. Systemic exposure to ethinyl estradiol was unaffected by administration of tablets with food, whereas exposure to norethindrone increased by 27%. Because administration of norethindrone acetate/ethinyl estradiol 1/10 tablets with a high-fat meal did not decrease systemic exposure to norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol, this formulation can be taken without regard to meals.

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