Twenty-two healthy female volunteers with normal ovulatory cycles, aged between 20 and 34 years (27.3 +/- 4.1), were included in a single-center, noncomparative study to investigate the modulation of ovarian function by an oral contraceptive containing 30 micrograms ethinyl estradiol in combination with 2.00 mg dienogest. At baseline, during three treatment cycles and post-treatment, serum levels of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, 17 beta-estradiol, and progesterone were assayed and ultrasonography was used to measure follicular size and the thickness of the endometrium. The primary efficacy variable was inhibition of ovulation as measured by ovarian activity grading. All volunteers ovulated during the pretreatment cycle. During treatment, none of the subjects had ovulatory cycles, although there was still some ovarian activity in several subjects. During the first treatment cycle, only 4% (1 subject) of cycles showed active follicle-like structures. The frequency of follicle-like structures increased to 33% and 35% during treatment cycles 2 and 3. The frequency of presumptive luteinized unruptured follicle-like structures was 5% (1 subject) and 15% (3 subjects) in treatment cycles 2 and 3. The serum hormone concentrations were effectively suppressed in comparison to baseline. The ovarian activity returned to baseline during the post-treatment period. One subject was excluded from further study because of a medical problem believed unrelated to use of the oral contraceptive. No serious adverse events were recorded during the course of the study. The results of the present investigation indicate that the modulatory effects on ovarian function of the monophasic oral-contraceptive containing 30 micrograms ethinyl estradiol combined with 2.00 mg dienogest lead to adequate suppression of ovarian activity and effective inhibition of ovulation.