Back to Journals » International Journal of Women's Health » Volume 7

Hormone withdrawal-associated symptoms with ethinylestradiol 20 µg/drospirenone 3 mg (24/4 regimen) versus ethinylestradiol 20 µg/desogestrel 150 µg (21/7 regimen)

Authors Bitzer J, Banal-Silao MJ, Ahrendt H, Restrepo J, Hardtke M, Wissinger-Graefenhahn U, Trummer D

Received 22 November 2014

Accepted for publication 9 February 2015

Published 18 May 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 501—509

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S77942

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Johannes Bitzer,1 Maria Jesusa Banal-Silao,2 Hans-Joachim Ahrendt,3 Jaime Restrepo,4 Marion Hardtke,5 Ulrike Wissinger-Graefenhahn,6 Dietmar Trummer7

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Manila, Philippines; 3Praxis für Frauenheilkunde, Klinische Forschung und Weiterbildung (Clinical Research and Further Education), Magdeburg, Germany; 4Centro de Investigación Clínica, Clinica Medellin Poblado, Medellin, Colombia; 5Global Clinical Development Operations, Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany; 6Global Medical Affairs Women’s Healthcare, Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany; 7Clinical Statistics Europe, Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany


Objective: To assess whether the combined oral contraceptive (COC) ethinylestradiol (EE) 20 µg/drospirenone 3 mg taken in a 24/4-day regimen (ie, 4-day hormone-free interval) is more effective than an EE 20 µg/desogestrel (DSG) 150 µg COC taken in a 21/7-day regimen (ie, 7-day hormone-free interval) in reducing hormone withdrawal-associated symptoms (HWAS).
Methods: This double-blind, randomized study (NLM identifier: NCT01076582) was conducted at 34 centers in 12 countries. Otherwise healthy women who experienced ≥2 HWAS of headache, pelvic pain, and/or bloating when using their current COCs in a 21/7-day regimen were recruited. Subjects rated the severity of their HWAS daily on a seven-point Likert scale during a baseline cycle and during four 28-day cycles with EE/drospirenone 24/4 (n=290) or EE/DSG 21/7 (n=304). The primary variable was the mean change from baseline to cycle 4 in the composite HWAS score (sum of scores for all three symptoms) during cycle days 22–28.
Results: In the EE/drospirenone 24/4 group, the mean (standard deviation) composite HWAS score during cycle days 22–28 was reduced from 42.2 (24.8) at baseline to 12.8 (13.4) at cycle 4 (change from baseline: -30.3 [22.9]). In the EE/DSG 21/7 group, the corresponding value was reduced from 41.9 (25.8) to 14.3 (13.2) (change from baseline: -27.7 [24.8]), not significantly different versus EE/drospirenone 24/4. Bleeding pattern, treatment response, rescue medication use, compliance, quality of life, and tolerability were similar between treatments.
Conclusion: Both EE/drospirenone 24/4 and EE/DSG 21/7 reduced the composite HWAS score from baseline to cycle 4 in otherwise healthy women. The differences between treatments were too small to be statistically significant.

Keywords: combined oral contraceptives, ethinylestradiol, drospirenone, desogestrel, hormone withdrawal

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]