New natural contraceptive pill being trialled

University of Adelaide researchers, together with the Adelaide Hormone and Menopause Centre, are trialling a new natural contraceptive pill alternative.

The trial is part of an international clinical trial involving 2,000 women worldwide and Adelaide volunteers are wanted.

This contraceptive pill, for the first time ever, makes use of natural estrogen instead of the synthetic alternative (ethinylestradiol) used in existing combined oral contraceptives.

Principal Investigator Professor Rob Norman, Director of the University's Research Centre for Reproductive Health, says: "This new contraceptive pill uses estrogen similar to that which the body produces naturally, and we believe this is a real breakthrough - a new generation of contraception."

The progestogen hormone being used in the pill is also new in its use for contraception. Preliminary studies have been carried out with this new pill formulation and have shown it to have good contraceptive effectiveness and control of monthly bleeding - common, for some women, in lower dose pills.

"Importantly, this large study not only aims to confirm the efficacy and safety of the new pill, but will also examine possible additional health benefits associated with this unique combination of hormones, such as influence on mood and sexuality, and how they affect symptoms related to the menstrual period," says Professor Norman.

Recruitment is underway for the international phase 3 trial of the new contraceptive pill. Women interested in taking part need to be: sexually active; needing contraception and willing to use a pill for 12 months; 18 to 50 years old; and in good physical and mental health.

Three out of four women participating in the trial will receive the new pill and one out of four will receive a pill already available on the market.

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