Long-acting hormonal contraceptives for women.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1991; 40(4-6):697-704.JS
Following the development and widespread use of oral hormonal contraceptives, it became evident that alternative long-acting delivery systems would be required to improve contraceptive practice in some cultural settings where injectable or subdermal routes of administration are preferred. Nowadays, long-acting contraceptives constitute an important option in family planning services in many parts of the world. Indeed, two long-acting injectable contraceptives containing just a synthetic progestogen (depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and norethisterone enantate (NET-EN)) have been in clinical practice for more than 20 years. The World Health Organization's (WHO) Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction, in collaboration with the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and universities primarily in developing countries undertook a synthesis programme aimed at producing an improved injectable preparation by developing new derivatives of known steroids. One such compound (levonorgestrel 17-butanoate) is now at the stage of Phase II clinical testing. In addition, the Special Programme has developed and improved once-a-month injectable formulations and assessed their safety and efficacy in different countries worldwide. After large scale clinical testing, at least two progestogen-estrogen combinations have reached the point of introductory trials.