‘No period’ pill leaves docs sceptical
24 May, 2007 l 0305 hrs ISTlKounteya Sinha/TIMES NEWS NETWORK
The pill does have side-effects like unscheduled bleeding and spotting and health professionals and gynaecologists in India have expressed doubts whether the pill will be a big hit here. They said that women do not always feel comfortable about missing a period and the health repercussions of stopping mensturation altogether were still unclear.
FDA approved the medication after clinical trials. Wyeth’s Lybrel contains 90 micrograms of progestin, levonorgestrel and 20 micrograms of Ethinyl Estradiol and suppresses periods for good.
The 365-day-pill works the same way as the present day contraceptives with 21-days on, seven-days off the pill cycle. The drug’s clinical trial involving 2,400 women, aged between 18-49 years, found Lybrel to be as effective at preventing pregnancy as standard birth control pills. It was able to suppress menstruation within the first year itself.
FDA, however, has warned that 41% of women using Lybrel in a study experienced unscheduled bleeding and spotting which declined over time. Wyeth plans to start Lybrel sales across the globe in July. The company hasn’t yet determined a price for 28-pill packs which contain a low dose of two hormones already widely used in birth-control pills, ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. Lybrel provides a steady low dose of the hormones over 28 days and lowers production of hormones that make pregnancy possible besides preventing the stimulation of a menstrual cycle.
While some present day pills shorten monthly periods to three days or less, others reduces them to four times a year. Gynaecologists in India remain sceptical about the pill’s appeal in India. According to Dr Sharmila Lal, "culturally, women in India are happier when they get their periods because common belief associates pregnancy with a missed period. Lybrel could be an option for anaemic women who will not lose blood every month."
Dr Duru Shah, former head of India’s Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Societies of India added, "elimination of a period today is for some women a lifestyle choice due to their careers. But I believe doing away with periods indefinitely is not a good idea. It will make it difficult for women to recognise if they have become pregnant. There may also be important health consequences." Quote