Nomegestrol acetate, a novel progestogen for oral contraception

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Nomegestrol acetate (NOMAC) is a potent, highly selective progestogen, which is structurally similar to 19-norprogesterone and characterized as a full agonist at the progesterone receptor, with no or minimal binding to other steroid receptors, including the androgen and glucocorticoid receptors. In animal models, NOMAC demonstrated moderate antiandrogenic activity and strong antiestrogenic activity. In clinical studies, the progestogen was associated with effective suppression of gonadotropic activity and ovulation in premenopausal women, and a neutral impact on hemostasis, lipids, and carbohydrate metabolism. In normal and cancerous human breast tissue, NOMAC has shown favorable effects on estrogen metabolism, and in human breast cancer cell lines in vitro, it does not stimulate cell proliferation. The pharmacologic profile of NOMAC suggested that it would be well suited for combination with a physiologic estrogen in a combined oral contraceptive (COC), with the aim of achieving effective contraception with good cycle control and a favorable safety profile. A monophasic COC containing NOMAC 2.5 mg and 17β-estradiol (E2) 1.5 mg, administered in a 24/4-day regimen, is currently under clinical investigation. In a phase III study, NOMAC/E2 provided consistent and robust ovulation inhibition, with contraceptive effects that compared favorably with those of drospirenone 3 mg/ethinyl estradiol (EE) 30 μg. Investigators for a second phase III study reported less overall impact with NOMAC/E2 on hemostatic, lipid, inflammatory, and carbohydrate metabolism parameters than with levonorgestrel 150 μg/EE 30 μg. These clinical findings are promising; however, full publication of results from the pivotal phase III trials of NOMAC/E2 is pending.