The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a combination oral contraceptive (OC) tablet called Natazia (Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals).  It is a bit different from other OC preparations in that it contains 4 progestin/estrogen dosing combinations during each 28-day cycle (instead of being monophasic or triphasic), and it contains estradiol valerate (instead of ethinyl estradiol).

The side effect profile is similar to that of other OC preparations.  As with other oral contraceptives, it strongly advised that women not smoke while taking Natazia because of an increased risk for serious cardiovascular events, particularly in women older than 35 years.

How this preparation differs from other oral contraceptives is not yet clear; Natazia should be available this summer.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

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