Previous measurements of plasma ethinyl estradiol (EE2) and norethindrone (NE) over 24 h after oral administration of a contraceptive pill have demonstrated a single steroid peak occurring 1-2 h after pill ingestion, with a gradual decline over the next 22 h. In the present study plasma concentrations of EE2 and NE were measured 0, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2, 4, 12, and 24 h after oral ingestion of a contraceptive pill containing 35 μg EE2 and 1 mg NE at 0, 3, 6, and 9 months of use in 58 normal healthy women. Contrary to previous reports, analysis of the 464 steroid curves (58 subjects × 4 time periods × 2 steroids) revealed the presence of multiple hormone peaks. Two peaks of EE2 were identified in 44.8% of women during the first pill cycle and in 75.9%, 55.2%, and 67.2% of women after 3, 6, and 9 months of pill use. Two hormone peaks of NE were observed in 29.3% of women during the first cycle and in 36.2%, 50%, and 44.8% at 3, 6, and 9 months, respectively. Existence of these multiple peaks at the frequency observed has not previously been reported. Further quantification of the frequency and magnitude of these peaks could be helpful in explaining differences in biological responses associated with pill use.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical