A twelve-month comparative clinical investigation of two low-dose oral contraceptives containing 20 micrograms ethinylestradiol/75 micrograms gestodene and 30 micrograms ethinylestradiol/75 micrograms gestodene, with respect to efficacy, cycle control, and tolerance.Contraception. 1997 Mar; 55(3):131-7.C
The aim of this study was to compare contraceptive reliability, cycle control, and tolerance of an oral contraceptive containing 20 micrograms ethinylestradiol (EE2) and 75 micrograms gestodene (GSD), with a reference preparation containing a similar dose of gestodene but in combination with 30 micrograms ethinylestradiol. A higher incidence of intermenstrual bleeding was apparent under the 20 micrograms EE2 oral contraceptive. For the 20 micrograms EE2 preparation, 47.4% of all women reported spotting at least once over a period of 12 treatment cycles, whereas this figure was 35.5% for the 30 micrograms EE2 pill (p < 0.05). However, the incidence was within a range that corresponds to that of other OCs. The cumulative breakthrough bleeding rates (at least once during the one year of treatment) of 14.5% (20 micrograms EE2) and 11.8% (30 micrograms EE2) of women were not significantly different. In relation to all cycles, the intermenstrual bleeding rates were remarkably lower, indicating that the majority of the volunteers experienced such events only in few cycles under treatment: the spotting rate was 11.5% (20 micrograms EE2) and 7.2% (30 micrograms EE2) of all cycles, and the breakthrough bleeding rate was 2.6% and 1.6% of all cycles, respectively. Three pregnancies were recorded during the study (one in the 20 micrograms EE2 + 75 micrograms GSD group, two in the 30 micrograms EE2 + 75 micrograms GSD group). All three could be explained either by intake irregularities or by circumstances impairing the contraceptive effect. The influence of both treatments on the blood pressure and body weight proved to be extremely slight. Adverse events in both groups were rare and differences in the frequency of adverse events were not apparent. The discontinuation rate due to adverse events, including intermenstrual bleeding, was low (9.8% for 20 micrograms EE2 + 75 micrograms GSD, and 7.2% for 30 micrograms EE2 + 75 micrograms GSD) and was in the lower range known for other oral contraceptives. Both preparations were well accepted by the volunteers. The data obtained demonstrate clinically acceptable cycle control, good tolerance, and a high standard of contraceptive reliability for both drugs. Prescription of the 20 micrograms EE2 preparation could be the first-line therapy in order to provide the lowest amount of EE2 possible. In case of persistent cycle control problems, a switch to the 30 micrograms EE2 drug should be considered.