Author(s): Huggins GR
Affiliation(s): Francis Scott Key Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
Publication date & source: 1990-04, Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol., 2(2):291-5.
Publication type: Review
PIP: The combined progestogen/estrogen oral contraceptive is the most common form of contraception in the US. They contain 1 of 5 synthetic progestogens (derived from 19-nortestosterone) and 1 of 2 estrogens. 3 new progestin compounds are in use in Europe and Asia. They are norgestimate, desogestrel, and gestodene. Estrogen seems to cause vascular complications. Progestin may cause atherosclerosis. Desogestrel and gestodene were studied for 6 months. They have little effect on glucose and lipid metabolism. Triphasal ethinyl estradiol/levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone (Ortho Novum 7/7/7) were compared in a 12-month prospective clinical trial. There seems to be no consensus of a pattern of increased breast cancer associated with oral contraceptive use. The UK National Case Control Study Group analyzed women younger than 36 years at the time breast cancer was diagnosed. 91% of their cohort had used pills. A significant trend was found when risk was analyzed with duration of taking pills. Women who had taken the pill for 4 years had no increased risk of breast cancer. However, there was an increased relative risk of 1.7 (P0.001) for women who took pills for more than 8 years. Among women using the pill for 8 years, the relative risk was 2.6 (p0.0001). AMong women using pills with 50 ug. of estrogen, the trend to increased risk was (P0.10). The 1988 National Survey of adolescent males showed that 60% of men never married were active sexually. Among 17- to 19-year-old-men who live in metropolitan areas, condom use has more than doubled, compared with 1979. In 1988, a "new" copper-containing IUD was approved for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration, the Copper T 380 A. Pregnancy rates are less with this than with older devices. IUDs may cause pelvic inflammatory disease with resulting tubal infertility. However, the risk was overstated earlier. Women who have only 1 sexual partner in their lifetime had no significant risk of tubal infertility. "lost" IUDs continue to be a problem.