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Effects of two low-dose oral contraceptives containing ethinylestradiol and either desogestrel or levonorgestrel on serum lipids and lipoproteins with particular regard to LDL size.

Author(s): Foulon T, Payen N, Laporte F, Bijaoui S, Dupont G, Roland F, Groslambert P

Affiliation(s): Department de Biologie Integree, CHU, BP217, Grenoble Cedex 09, France. Tfoulon@chu-grenoble.fr

Publication date & source: 2001-07, Contraception., 64(1):11-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

This study was designed to determine the effects of two low-dose oral contraceptives, most frequently given in our area, monophasic desogestrel/ethinylestradiol (DG/EE) and triphasic levonorgestrel/ethinylestradiol (LNG/EE), on lipoprotein parameters, especially LDL particle size and HDL subclass distribution (determined by lipid-stained 2%-20% polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis) in 37 healthy normolipidemic women aged 19 to 27 years. Lipid and lipoprotein parameters were measured before the start of treatment and in the third month of oral contraceptive use. Results reflected the estrogen-progestin balance. As compared with baseline values, with both formulations, plasma total cholesterol, phospholipids, and HDL3 cholesterol increased, and LDL-predominant peak size decreased, with a translation of LDL pattern A towards pattern I. With DG/EE, plasma triglycerides, apolipoproteins AI and B increased. With LNG/EE, LDL cholesterol increased, and HDL2 cholesterol decreased. All these modifications were moderate, within threshold limits. Estrogen-dominant monophasic DG/EE appears to be more favorable than progestin-dominant triphasic LNG/EE, since the reduction in LDL-predominant peak size is not associated with an increase in LDL cholesterol or with a decrease in HDL2 cholesterol.

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