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Androgenic effects of oral contraceptives: Implications for patient compliance

Authors
Journal
The American Journal of Medicine
0002-9343
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
98
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-9343(99)80069-2
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Androgenic disorders have many negative physical effects. These effects may be caused by excess androgen (exogenous or endogenous) or by end-organ sensitivity to normal levels of androgens. Historically, androgenic progestins in oral contraceptives have also been associated with some of these negative effects. The most apparent signs of androgen excess are the external manifestations, including oily skin, acne, hirsutism, android obesity, and androgenic alopecia. Of equal concern are the potential metabolic disturbances associated with hyperandrogenicity. Unfavorable lipid profiles and increased incidence of diabetes and hypertension are very real threats to long-term health. In oral contraceptive users, external manifestations of androgenicity often lead to poor compliance, decreased efficacy, and discontinuation of oral contraceptive use, especially in the younger patient. With the introduction of the newer oral contraceptive formulations containing less androgenic progestins (norgestimate, desogestrel, gestodene), androgen-related effects have been reduced and better compliance is anticipated.

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