RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Efficacy and safety of a levonorgestrel enteric-coated tablet as an over-the-counter drug for emergency contraception: a Phase IV clinical trial.

Human Reproduction 2011 September
BACKGROUND: An enteric-coated levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill (E-LNG-ECP) is an improved formulation, in terms of side effects, which both dissolves and is absorbed in the intestine. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of E-LNG-ECP as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for emergency contraception (EC) in Chinese women.

METHODS: A Phase IV clinical trial was conducted in five family planning clinics in China. Women seeking EC within 72 h after unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure who met the inclusion criteria were recruited. The efficacy of contraception (primary end-point was pregnancy rate), side effects (i.e. safety) and the value of E-LNG-ECP for EC were investigated.

RESULTS: Of 2445 women (aged 15-48 years) who took E-LNG-ECP with follow-up to determine pregnancy, only five pregnancies (0.2%) occurred. The efficacy of contraception was 95.3%. In total, 6.5% of women reported at least one adverse event after taking E-LNG-ECP, and no serious adverse events were reported. Only four subjects (0.16%) reported vomiting. The incidence of menstrual cycle disturbance was 20.1% after taking E-LNG-ECP. Subjects who had previously taken ECPs (54.4% of these women) rated the acceptability of E-LNG-ECP at 9.36 (on a 10-point scale) higher (P<0.05) than the rating of other LNG-EC pills taken previously.

CONCLUSIONS: The study found that E-LNG-ECP was effective, safe and well tolerated as an OTC drug. However, an randomized controlled trial should be performed to compare standard LNG tablets with E-LNG-ECP.

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