An initial pharmacokinetic study with a Metered Dose Transdermal System® for delivery of the progestogen Nestorone® as a possible future contraceptive

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Transdermal delivery of steroids is gaining popularity for contraception and hormone replacement therapy. This study aimed to test metered spray delivery of a precise dosage of Nestorone® (NES) progestogen as a possible transdermal progestogen-only contraceptive. Study Design: Six healthy postmenopausal volunteers, not recently using any hormonal therapies, comprise the sample for this study. Each subject was studied on two occasions with multiple blood sampling for assay of NES over a 24-h period: on the first occasion, after a single dosage of 3 × 90 μL NES sprays using a specially devised, precisely metered delivery device; on the second occasion, following the fifth in a series of five daily transdermal dosages of 3×90 μL of NES spray. Conventional pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated. NES was assayed in serum using a specific radioimmunoassay. Results: Mean serum levels of NES peaked at around 20 h following dosing, and levels plateaued at 285-290 pmol/L after 4-5 days of daily spray application. All subjects achieved satisfactory serum levels, although substantial intersubject variation was noted. The apparent elimination half-life of NES after the last dose on Day 5 was 26.8 h. No unexpected adverse events were encountered. Conclusion: This early pharmacokinetic trial of a new transdermal steroid delivery system has demonstrated the feasibility of achieving serum levels of NES sufficient to block ovulation and potentially provide effective contraception.