"What are birth control pills and how do they work?
Birth control pills are also known as oral contraceptives (OCs) or, simply, “the pill.” They offer protection against pregnancy by blocking the union of sperm and egg, thereby prevent"...
Mechanism of Action
COCs lower the risk of becoming pregnant primarily by suppressing ovulation. Other possible mechanisms may include cervical mucus changes that inhibit sperm penetration and endometrial changes that reduce the likelihood of implantation.
Drospirenone is a spironolactone analogue with antimineralocorticoid activity. The estrogen in Yasmin is ethinyl estradiol (EE).
No specific pharmacodynamic studies were conducted with Yasmin.
The absolute bioavailability of DRSP from a single entity tablet is about 76%. The absolute bioavailability of EE is approximately 40% as a result of presystemic conjugation and first-pass metabolism. The absolute bioavailability of Yasmin, which is a combination tablet of DRSP and EE, has not been evaluated. Serum concentrations of DRSP and EE reached peak levels within 1-2 hours after administration of Yasmin.
The pharmacokinetics of DRSP are dose proportional following single doses ranging from 1-10 mg. Following daily dosing of Yasmin, steady state DRSP concentrations were observed after 8 days. There was about 2 to 3 fold accumulation in serum Cmax and AUC (0-24h) values of DRSP following multiple dose administration of Yasmin (see Table 2).
For EE, steady-state conditions are reported during the second half of a treatment cycle. Following daily administration of Yasmin serum Cmax and AUC (0-24h) values of EE accumulate by a factor of about 1.5 to 2 (see Table 2).
Table 2: Mean Pharmacokinetic Parameters Of YASMIN (DRSP
3 mg and EE 0.03 mg )
Mean (% CV) Values
|Cycle/Day||No. of Subjects|| Cmax
|1/1||12||36.9 (13)||1.7(47)||288 (25)||NA|
|1/21||12||87.5 (59)||1.7(20)||827 (23)||30.9 (44)|
|6/21||12||84.2 (19)||1.8 (19)||930 (19)||32.5 (38)|
|9/21||12||81.3 (19)||1.6(38)||957 (23)||31.4(39)|
|13/21||12||78.7(18)||1.6(26)||968 (24)||31.1 (36)|
|EE Mean (% CV) Values|
|Cycle/Day||No. of Subjects|| Cmax
|1/1||11||53.5 (43)||1.9(45)||280 (87)||NA|
|1/21||11||92.1 (35)||1.5(40)||461 (94)||NA|
|6/21||11||99.1 (45)||1.5(47)||346 (74)||NA|
|9/21||11||87 (43)||1.5(42)||485 (92)||NA|
|13/21||10||90.5 (45)||1.6(38)||469 (83)||NA|
The rate of absorption of DRSP and EE following single administration of a formulation similar to Yasmin was slower under fed (high fat meal) conditions with the serum Cmax being reduced about 40% for both components. The extent of absorption of DRSP, however, remained unchanged. In contrast, the extent of absorption of EE was reduced by about 20% under fed conditions.
DRSP and EE serum concentrations decline in two phases. The apparent volume of distribution of DRSP is approximately 4 L/kg and that of EE is reported to be approximately 4-5 L/kg.
DRSP does not bind to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) or corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) but binds about 97% to other serum proteins. Multiple dosing over 3 cycles resulted in no change in the free fraction (as measured at trough concentrations). EE is reported to be highly but non-specifically bound to serum albumin (approximately 98.5 %) and induces an increase in the serum concentrations of both SHBG and CBG. EE induced effects on SHBG and CBG were not affected by variation of the DRSP dosage in the range of 2 to 3 mg.
The two main metabolites of DRSP found in human plasma were identified to be the acid form of DRSP generated by opening of the lactone ring and the 4,5-dihydrodrospirenone-3-sulfate. These metabolites were shown not to be pharmacologically active. In in vitro studies with human liver microsomes, DRSP was metabolized only to a minor extent mainly by CYP3A4.
EE has been reported to be subject to presystemic conjugation in both small bowel mucosa and the liver. Metabolism occurs primarily by aromatic hydroxylation but a wide variety of hydroxylated and methylated metabolites are formed. These are present as free metabolites and as conjugates with glucuronide and sulfate. CYP3A4 in the liver is responsible for the 2-hydroxylation which is the major oxidative reaction. The 2-hydroxy metabolite is further transformed by methylation and glucuronidation prior to urinary and fecal excretion.
DRSP serum concentrations are characterized by a terminal disposition phase half-life of approximately 30 hours after both single and multiple dose regimens. Excretion of DRSP was nearly complete after ten days and amounts excreted were slightly higher in feces compared to urine. DRSP was extensively metabolized and only trace amounts of unchanged DRSP were excreted in urine and feces. At least 20 different metabolites were observed in urine and feces. About 38-47% of the metabolites in urine were glucuronide and sulfate conjugates. In feces, about 17-20% of the metabolites were excreted as glucuronides and sulfates.
For EE the terminal disposition phase half-life has been reported to be approximately 24 hours. EE is not excreted unchanged. EE is excreted in the urine and feces as glucuronide and sulfate conjugates and undergoes enterohepatic circulation.
Use in Specific Populations
Pediatric Use: Safety and efficacy of Yasmin has been established in women of reproductive age. Efficacy is expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents under the age of 18 and for users 18 years and older. Use of this product before menarche is not indicated.
Geriatric Use: Yasmin has not been studied in postmenopausal women and is not indicated in this population.
Race: No clinically significant difference was observed between the pharmacokinetics of DRSP or EE in Japanese versus Caucasian women (age 25-35) when 3 mg DRSP/0.02 mg EE was administered daily for 21 days. Other ethnic groups have not been specifically studied.
Renal Impairment: Yasmin is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment.
The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of DRSP (3 mg daily for 14 days) and the effect of DRSP on serum potassium concentrations were investigated in three separate groups of female subjects (n=28, age 30-65). All subjects were on a low potassium diet. During the study, 7 subjects continued the use of potassium-sparing drugs for the treatment of their underlying illness. On the 14th day (steady-state) of DRSP treatment, the serum DRSP concentrations in the group with CLcr of 50-79 mL/min were comparable to those in the control group with CLcr ≥ 80 mL/min. The serum DRSP concentrations were on average 37% higher in the group with CLcr of 30-49 mL/min compared to those in the control group. DRSP treatment did not show any clinically significant effect on serum potassium concentration. Although hyperkalemia was not observed in the study, in five of the seven subjects who continued use of potassium sparing drugs during the study, mean serum potassium concentrations increased by up to 0.33 mEq/L. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS.]
Hepatic Impairment: Yasmin is contraindicated in patients with hepatic disease.
The mean exposure to DRSP in women with moderate liver impairment is approximately three times higher than the exposure in women with normal liver function. Yasmin has not been studied in women with severe hepatic impairment. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS.]
Consult the labeling of all concurrently used drugs to obtain further information about interactions with oral contraceptives or the potential for enzyme alterations.
Effects of Other Drugs on Combined Oral Contraceptives
Substances increasing the plasma concentrations of COCs: Co-administration of atorvastatin and certain COCs containing ethinyl estradiol increase AUC values for ethinyl estradiol by approximately 20%. Ascorbic acid and acetaminophen may increase plasma ethinyl estradiol concentrations, possibly by inhibition of conjugation. CYP3A4 inhibitors such as itraconazole or ketoconazole may increase plasma hormone concentrations.
HIV/HCVprotease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcripta.se inhibitors: Significant changes (increase or decrease) in the plasma concentrations of estrogen and progestin have been noted in some cases of co-administration with HIV/HCV protease inhibitors or with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.
Antibiotics: There have been reports of pregnancy while taking hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics, but clinical pharmacokinetic studies have not shown consistent effects of antibiotics on plasma concentrations of synthetic steroids.
Effects of Combined Oral Contraceptives on Other Drugs
COCs containing ethinyl estradiol may inhibit the metabolism of other compounds. COCs have been shown to significantly decrease plasma concentrations of lamotrigine, likely due to induction of lamotrigine glucuronidation. This may reduce seizure control; therefore, dosage adjustments of lamotrigine may be necessary. Consult the labeling of the concurrently-used drug to obtain further information about interactions with COCs or the potential for enzyme alterations.
Metabolism of DRSP and potential effects of DRSP on hepatic CYP enzymes have been investigated in in vitro and in vivo studies. In in vitro studies DRSP did not affect turnover of model substrates of CYP1A2 and CYP2D6, but had an inhibitory influence on the turnover of model substrates of CYP1A1, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4, with CYP2C19 being the most sensitive enzyme. The potential effect of DRSP on CYP2C19 activity was investigated in a clinical pharmacokinetic study using omeprazole as a marker substrate. In the study with 24 postmenopausal women [including 12 women with homozygous (wild type) CYP2C19 genotype and 12 women with heterozygous CYP2C19 genotype] the daily oral administration of 3 mg DRSP for 14 days did not affect the oral clearance of omeprazole (40 mg, single oral dose) and the CYP2C19 product 5-hydroxy omeprazole. Furthermore, no significant effect of DRSP on the systemic clearance of the CYP3A4 product omeprazole sulfone was found. These results demonstrate that DRSP did not inhibit CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 in vivo.
Two additional clinical drug-drug interaction studies using simvastatin and midazolam as marker substrates for CYP3A4 were each performed in 24 healthy postmenopausal women. The results of these studies demonstrated that pharmacokinetics of the CYP3A4 substrates were not influenced by steady state DRSP concentrations achieved after administration of 3 mg DRSP/day.
Interactions With Drugs That Have the Potential to Increase Serum Potassium Concentration: There is a potential for an increase in serum potassium concentration in women taking Yasmin with other drugs that may increase serum potassium concentration [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
A drug-drug interaction study of DRSP 3 mg/estradiol (E2) 1 mg versus placebo was performed in 24 mildly hypertensive postmenopausal women taking enalapril maleate 10 mg twice daily. Potassium concentrations were obtained every other day for a total of 2 weeks in all subjects. Mean serum potassium concentrations in the DRSP/E2 treatment group relative to baseline were 0.22 mEq/L higher than those in the placebo group. Serum potassium concentrations also were measured at multiple time points over 24 hours at baseline and on Day 14. On Day 14, the ratios for serum potassium Cmax and AUC in the DRSP/E2 group to those in the placebo group were 0.955 (90% CI: 0.914, 0.999) and 1.010 (90% CI: 0.944, 1.08), respectively. No patient in either treatment group developed hyperkalemia (serum potassium concentrations > 5.5 mEq/L).
In the clinical efficacy studies of up to 2 years duration, 2,629 subjects completed 33,160 cycles of use without any other contraception. The mean age of the subjects was 25.5 ± 4.7 years. The age range was 16 to 37 years. The racial demographic was: 83% Caucasian, 1% Hispanic, 1% Black, <1% Asian, <1% other, <1% missing data, 14% not inquired and <1% unspecified. Pregnancy rates in the clinical trials were less than one per 100 woman-years of use.
1. Seeger, J.D., Loughlin, J., Eng, P.M., Clifford, C.R., Cutone, J., and Walker, A.M. (2007). Risk of thromboembolism in women taking ethinylestradiol/drospirenone and other oral contraceptives. Obstet Gynecol 110, 587-593.
2. Dinger, J.C., Heinemann, L.A., and Kuhl-Habich, D. (2007). The safety of a drospirenone-containing oral contraceptive: final results from the European Active Surveillance Study on oral contraceptives based on 142,475 women-years of observation. Contraception 75,344-354.
3. Combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) and the risk of cardiovascular endpoints. Sidney, S. (primary author) http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafetv/UCM277384.pdf. accessed Oct 27,2011.
4. Lidegaard, O., Lokkegaard, E., Svendsen, A.L., and Agger, C. (2009). Hormonal contraception and risk of venous thromboembolism: national follow-up study. BMJ 339, b2890.
5. Lidegaard, O., Nielsen, L.H., Skovlund, C.W., Skjeldestad, F.E., and Lokkegaard, E. (2011). Risk of venous thromboembolism from use of oral contraceptives containing different progestogens and oestrogen doses: Danish cohort study, 2001-9. BMJ 343, d6423.
6. van Hylckama Vlieg, A., Helmerhorst, P.M., Vandenbroucke, J.P., Doggen, C.J., and Rosendaal, F.R. (2009). The venous thrombotic risk of oral contraceptives, effects of oestrogen dose and progestogen type: results of the MEGA case-control study. BMJ 339, b2921.
7. Dinger, J., Assmann, A., Mohner, S., and Minh, T.D. (2010). Risk of venous thromboembolism and the use of dienogest- and drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives: results from a German case-control study. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 36, 123-129.
8. Jick, S.S., and Hernandez, R.K. (2011). Risk of non-fatal venous thromboembolism in women using oral contraceptives containing drospirenone compared with women using oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel: case-control study using United States claims data. BMJ 342, d2151.
9. Parkin, L., Sharpies, K., Hernandez, R.K., and Jick, S.S. (2011). Risk of venous thromboembolism in users of oral contraceptives containing drospirenone or levonorgestrel: nested case-control study based on UK General Practice Research Database. BMJ 342, d2139.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/23/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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