Oral contraceptive tablets containing 20 and 30 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol with 150 micrograms desogestrel. Their influence on lipids, lipoproteins, sex hormone binding globulin and testosterone.Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1994; 73(2):136-43AO
The effect of two oral contraceptive (OC) pills, both containing 150 micrograms of desogestrel, but with 20 (Mercilon) or 30 micrograms (Marvelon/Desolett) of ethinyl estradiol on plasma levels of lipids, lipoproteins and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), total and free testosterone were compared in a double-blind, randomized, two-center study in a total of 60 women over one year. A significant rise with Marvelon but not with Mercilon was seen in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, HDL-3 and apolipoprotein B, whereas LDL cholesterol decreased with Mercilon only. These effects resulted in significant differences between the two groups in the magnitude of responses in all these parameters except HDL-3. HDL-2, apolipoprotein A-1 and total phospholipids were elevated with both pills after treatment and with no difference in the degree of response between groups. The HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio tended to increase in both groups and that of apolipoproteins A-1/B in the women on Mercilon. Total triglycerides increased in both groups, but more in the women on Marvelon. Total testosterone decreased, particularly in the Marvelon group, whereas the two pills caused a similar increase in SHBG and decrease in free testosterone. It is concluded that the direction of changes in plasma lipids and lipoproteins with both these pills may as a whole be interpreted as beneficial, and that the differences in effect on LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B may suggest a slightly advantageous effect of Mercilon in this aspect. However, the clinical significance of these changes is uncertain. The results indicate a lack of androgenicity of both pills.