Vaginal rings for contraception in lactating women
Massai,Rebeca; Diaz,Soledad; Jackanicz,Theodore M.; Croxatto,Horacio B.
Steroids 65(10-11): 703-707
Publication date: 2000
Contraceptive methods for breastfeeding women should be safe for the mother and infant and should not interfere with lactation. Progestin-only methods meet these conditions and can be used from the sixth week postpartum. Because all progestins are excreted in milk, those that are insufficiently active by the oral route are preferable to avoid any possible effect on the baby. These steroids, however, must be administered to the mother by a non-oral route. Initially, progesterone was administered subdermally to test this concept. Subsequently, a progesterone vaginal ring was developed to be used continuously for 3 to 4 months and replaced with a new device, as needed, until weaning. Clinical trials have shown a high contraceptive efficacy (over 98.5%) and safety. The gross continuation rate of this method is approximately 40% at 12 months of use, with use-related problems being the main reason for discontinuation (26.8%). Currently, a Nestorone® vaginal ring is under development, delivering 50 µg of Nestorone per day. It may be used continuously for up to one year, even if weaning occurs earlier. Both of these progestin-only rings prolong lactational amenorrhea to 10 to 12 months, which represents a health benefit and convenience for many women. The registration of the progesterone vaginal ring, developed as a contraceptive method to be used exclusively during lactation, has been approved in Chile and Perú. The fact that it is a user-controlled long-term contraceptive that delivers a natural hormone makes it an attractive option for many women.