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▼Zoely: a new combined oral contraceptive

Abstract

▼Zoely is the second estradiol-containing oral contraceptive formulated as an ‘extended regimen’ (pill-free interval <7 days) to be licensed in the UK. However, unlike the quadraphasic estradiol-containing contraceptive Qlaira, it is a monophasic preparation.1,2 It is postulated that combined oral contraceptives (COCs) containing synthetic estradiol, which is structurally identical to endogenous oestrogen,3 are potentially safer and better tolerated than those containing ethinylestradiol, the synthetic oestrogen most commonly used in COCs.4 The progestogen in Zoely is nomegestrol acetate, which is structurally related to progesterone,5 in contrast to the majority of progestogens in COCs that are derived from 19-nortestosterone6 and associated with androgenic effects.7 It is suggested that nomegestrol acetate, with its greater specificity for progesterone receptors, may minimise the potential for androgenic, oestrogenic and glucocorticoid effects.7 The company considers Zoely an option for women “who want a contraceptive with hormones similar to her own”, and claims that it has a high level of contraceptive efficacy, produces shorter, lighter periods compared with a 21-day regimen of drospirenone 3mg/ethinylestradiol 30µg (Yasmin) and that most women report no negative impact on weight and skin.8 Here we review the effectiveness and place of Zoely.

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