YAZ and the novel progestin drospirenone

Daniel R Mishell
Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2008, 53 (9 Suppl): 721-8
Drospirenone is a novel progestin that is structurally related to 17 alpha-spirolactone and has antimineralocorticoid and antiandrogenic activity. A 3-mg dose of drospirenone was first used in combination with ethinyl estradiol (EE) 30 microg in a combination oral contraceptive (COC) that is administered for 21 days, followed by a 7-day hormone-free interval (HFI) (drospirenone/30EE, or Yasmin). The 21/7 regimen is considered to be the standard regimen for COC delivery. A formulation with the metabolic benefit of COCs containing a lower estrogen dose has been developed combining drospirenone 3 mg with EE 20 microg and using a regimen of 24 days of active pills, followed by a 4-day HFI (drospirenone/20EE-24/4), or YAZ (Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Wayne, New Jersey). Since drospirenone has a half-life of > 30 hours, its activity extends for a prolonged time into the shortened HFI. This new COC has been shown to provide effective contraception and to have a good safety profile. Two large noninterventional studies have recently evaluated the safety of drospirenone/30EE in 2 areas of special interest: hyperkalemia and thromboembolic events. Use of a drospirenone-containing COC was not associated with an increased risk of either type of disorder in comparison with COCs containing other progestins. Drospirenone/20EE-24/4 provides a low dose of EE in combination with drospirenone in an effective and safe COC that is administered using a regimen with a shortened HFI. Drospirenone/20EE-24/4 is the only COC with 3 indications: contraception and the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder in women who wish to use a COC for birth control, and the treatment of moderate acne in women who are at least 14-years-old, have achieved menarche and wish to use a COC for birth control.

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