Dr. Chikako Takeshita
13, November, 2008
In the 1950s there was immensely uncomfortable and inappropriate for people to touch the genital area. The vaginal ring, “NuvaRing” would undoubtedly be rejected in those days of modesty and morals. Fortunately for the founders of the new alternative to oral contraceptives, the people of the late 20th and early 21st century have a completely different attitude towards the body and contraception. In 2002 the most popular form of contraception amongst unmarried people was the Pill and the male condom (http://www.aippg.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=162574). Judging from the fact that one of those requires a hefty amount of genital manipulation, we can conclude that ultimately people have let go of their stipules and are not as apprehensive about exploring their bodies. Thus, with this new general mindset, NuvaRing was brought to the American and European public.
NuvaRing was developed by the pharmaceutical company “Organon.” Organon submitted the drug for FDA approval in December of 1999 but it was not approved until October of 2001. Some of the reasons for the delay in approval were that FDA chemists wanted Organon to do clinical studies to see if antimycotic medicines or tampon use affected the efficacy of NuvaRing. Ultimately they found out that the only effect that either of the two had was the Toxic Shock Syndrome possibility that was caused by tampons, diaphragms and other barrier methods. Also, Organon wanted to alter the wording of the package insert proposed by the FDA and they also made some changes to the outside packaging. The Netherlands were the first country to approve NuvaRing in February of 2001 and by June, 14 other European countries approved it. Today, NuvaRing is available by a doctor’s prescription in 32 countries and is used by more than 1.5 million women (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NuvaRing).” However, in 2007, the 12.5 billion dollar company “Schering-Plough” bought out Organon Biosciences, so now Nuvaring is being sold by the same pharmaceutical giant that sells Claritin, Nasonex, and even animal medicines. NuvaRing’s package insert says that it “is a non-biodegradable, flexible, transparent, colorless to almost colorless, combination contraceptive vaginal ring containing two active components, a progestin, etonogestrel, and an estrogen, ethinyl estradiol.” This two inch ring is supposed to be inserted into the vagina by the patient’s fingers and once inserted; the ring releases the hormones over a three week period. Like the pill, the primary effect of NuvaRing is to prevent ovulation, but it also causes “changes in cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation) (from package insert).” After three weeks in the vagina, the ring is removed, again by the patient’s fingers, and the patient is supposed to have a seven day break from the hormones. About two days after the ring is removed, the patient will experience withdrawal bleeding. It is interesting that although the words “withdrawal bleeding” are used in the packaging of this device, most women still think that the bleeding is due to their menstrual cycle. So, seven days after the ring is removed, regardless if the bleeding has stopped or not, a new ring must be inserted for the process to start over again.
A major benefit of NuvaRing is that there is less room for human error because it only has to be inserted once a month. Thus, it provides the answer for population control advocates who believe women do not have the mental capacities to adhere to the pill. Generally, most of the advertisements and research done on NuvaRing compare and contrast it to the oral contraceptive. Thom Dieber, an employee of Organon writes that “a recent study of women’s wishes in relation to contraceptive methods showed that most American women would prefer a contraceptive that...
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