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Changes in androgens during treatment with four low-dose contractptives

  • C.M.H. Coenen
    Correspondence
    Name and address for correspondence: C.M.H. Coenen, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Tel: 31-24-3614748; Fax: 31-24-3541194
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • C.M.G. Thomas
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

    Endocrinology and Reproduction Laboratory, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • G.F. Borm
    Affiliations
    Department of Blostatistics, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • J.M.G. Hollanders
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • R. Rolland
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Nijmegen St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

    IVF/Reproductive Endocrinology, King Fahad National Guard Hospital, P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia
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      Abstract

      The aim of the present study was to compare changes in the endogenous androgen environment in healthy women while on low-dose oral contraceptives (OCs). One-hundred healthy women were randomized to receive one of four OCs during six months: 21 tablets of Cilest®, Femodeen®, Marvelon®, or Mercilon®. During the luteal phase of the pretreatment cycle, body weight and blood pressure were recorded and the following parameters were measured: sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), testosterone (T), free testosterone (FT), 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione (A), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S) and 17α-hydroxy-progesterone (17OHP) while also the free androgen index (FAI) was calculated. Measurements were repeated during the 3rd week of pill intake in the 4th and the 6th pill month. There were no differences on body mass and blood pressure with the use of the four OCs. The mean serum DHEA-S decreased significantly in all groups though less in the Mercilon® group when compared to Cilest® and Marvelon® (approximately 20% vs 45%). Mean serum SHBG and CBG increased significantly in all four groups approximately 250% and 100%, respectively. In each group CBG also increased significantly but less in women taking Mercilon® (−75%) as compared to the others (−100%). Current low-dose OCs were found to have similar impact on the endogenous androgen metabolism with significant decreases of serum testosterone, DHT, A, and DHEA-S. They may be equally beneficial in women with androgen related syndromes such as acne and hirsutism.

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