Pills in perspective: practical aspects of prescribing.


A brief summary of the practical aspects of prescribing oral contraceptives (3C), based on papers presented at a recent meeting of physicians in the United Kingdom, is presented. The report of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, noting that available evidence does not rule out the possibility of a causal relationship between OC use and breast cancer, recommended that physicians prescribe the lowest appropriate dose of estrogen and progestogen. _the papers presented at the meeting revealed that mny physicians are confused about the meaning of potency and that there is no generally accepted set of tests for evaluating potency. The lowest appropriate dose is one that provides ovulation inhibition and good cycle control with minimal metabolic effects; however, some of the ultra low OCs do not always achieve ovulation inhibition, and cycle control responses to specific OCs vary from woman to woman. Apparently, the most appropriate low dose for estrogen ranges between 20 mcg to 35 mcg, but for some women 50 mcg may be necessary. In reference to progestogen levels, physicians must take into account the need to produce a balanced hormonal effect. The National Association of Family Planning Doctors issues a statement on OC prescribing, and this statement should help physicians select appropriate OCs for their patients. The statement provides information on combined OC and on biphasic, triphasic, and progestogen only OCs. Epidemiological studies addressing the issue of breast cancer and OC use must be continued, and physicians should encourate women to screen themselves for breast cancer.

Cite this paper

@article{Newton1984PillsIP, title={Pills in perspective: practical aspects of prescribing.}, author={Jeanette Newton}, journal={Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology}, year={1984}, volume={4 Suppl 2}, pages={S139-40} }