FDA Approves Weekly Contraceptive Patch Twirla

Megan Brooks


February 18, 2020

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Agile Therapeutics' levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol transdermal system (Twirla) for contraception in women whose body mass index (BMI) is <30 kg/m2 and for whom a combined hormonal contraceptive is appropriate.

Applied weekly to the abdomen, buttock, or upper torso (excluding the breasts), Twirla delivers a 30-µg daily dose of ethinyl estradiol and 120-µg daily dose of levonorgestrel.

"Twirla is an important addition to available hormonal contraceptive methods, allowing prescribers to now offer appropriate US women a weekly transdermal option that delivers estrogen levels in line with labeled doses of many commonly prescribed oral contraceptives," David Portman, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Columbus, Ohio, and a primary investigator of the SECURE clinical trial, said in a news release issued by the company.

Twirla was evaluated in "a diverse population providing important data to prescribers and to women seeking contraception. It is vital to expand the full range of contraceptive methods and inform the choices that fit an individual's family planning needs and lifestyle," Portman added.

As part of approval, the FDA will require Agile Therapeutics to conduct a long-term, prospective, observational postmarketing study to assess risks for venous thromboembolism and arterial thromboembolism in new users of Twirla compared to new users of other combined hormonal contraceptives.

Twirla is contraindicated in women at high risk for arterial or venous thrombotic disease, including women with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2; women who have headaches with focal neurologic symptoms or migraine with aura; and women older than 35 years who have any migraine headache.

Twirla should also be avoided in women who have liver tumors, acute viral hepatitis, decompensated cirrhosis, liver disease, or undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding. It should also be avoided during pregnancy; in women who currently have or who have history of breast cancer or other estrogen- or progestin-sensitive cancer; in women who are hypersensitivity to any components of Twirla; and in women who use of hepatitis C drug combinations containing ombitasvir/paraparesis/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir.

Because cigarette smoking increases the risk for serious cardiovascular events from combined hormonal contraceptive use, Twirla is also contraindicated in women older than 35 who smoke.

Twirla will contain a boxed warning that will include these risks about cigarette smoking and the serious cardiovascular events, and it will stipulate that Twirla is contraindicated in women with a BMI >30 kg/m2.

Follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.