NEW METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION: ANTI-PROGESTINS

What are anti-progestins? Anti-progestins are a new kind of hormonal contraception. It is expected they should be available in Australia within the next ten years.

How do anti-progestins work? Progesterone is a hormone produced by a woman’s body. It is necessary for a pregnancy to begin and to continue to grow. Anti-progestins stop this hormone from working and a woman will not fall pregnant while she is using them.

How effective are anti-progestins? It is difficult to give any really accurate figures on how effective they are, since this method of contraception is still in the early stages of development and different types and doses of anti-progestins are being looked at in trials. It should be quite an effective way of preventing pregnancy and has the advantage that many women do not have any periods while they are using this method. Irregular bleeding has been a problem in the past with hormonal methods of contraception which do not contain oestrogen, like the minipill and the contraceptive implant.

Why would I want to choose anti-progestins? Anti-progestins would be good for women who want to use hormonal contraception but cannot take oestrogen. They might

also be useful for women who want to use a method of contraception which stops them having periods or for women who have tried other hormonal methods but have been troubled by irregular bleeding.

How do you use anti-progestins? They are being looked at for use in two ways, either as a single once-a-month pill, given after a woman has ovulated, or as a lower dose every single day.

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