FDA Approves Oral Contraceptive With New Estrogen

Heidi Splete

April 21, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new estrogen for the first time in more than 50 years.

The novel combined oral contraceptive, marketed as Nextstellis, contains 3 mg drospirenone (DRSP) and 14.2 mg of estetrol (E4) in tablet form. Estetrol is an estrogen that is naturally produced during pregnancy, but will now be produced from a plant source; it has not previously been used in oral contraceptives.

Approval of the unique estetrol/drospirenone combination was based on data from a pair of phase 3 clinical trials including 3,725 women. Overall, Nextstellis was safe and effective while meeting its primary endpoint of pregnancy prevention, according to a company press release. Participants also reported favorable results on secondary endpoints including cycle control, bleeding profile, safety, and tolerability.

Although many women take short-acting contraceptives containing estrogen and progestin, concerns persist about side effects, said Mitchell Creinin, MD, of the University of California, in the press release. In addition to providing effective contraception, the drug showed minimal impact on specific markers of concern, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and glucose, as well as weight and endocrine markers, Creinin said.

Nextstellis was developed by the Belgian biotech company Mithra Pharmaceuticals, and the drug is licensed for distribution in Australia and the United States by Mayne Pharma, with an expected launch at the end of June 2021.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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