Progestins, estrogens and oral contraceptives

Progestins, estrogens and oral contraceptives

In the 1930s, two female hormones were isolated and produced from natural sources, from the urine of pregnant mare, or from Mexican sweet root. Progestins (progesterone, luteal hormone) were discovered to maintain gestation, and estrogens (follicular hormones) are understood to affect menstrual cycles. In the 1950s, synthetic versions of these hormones were produced and their effects on human conception and pregnancy were studied. Their excellent contraceptive qualities led to the development of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) for women.

While the follicular-hormone component of the first contraceptive reached 150 mg, today's drugs only contain 20 µg of estrogen.While the follicular-hormone component of the first contraceptive reached 150 mg, today's drugs only contain 20 µg of estrogen.

Enovid, approved in the USA in 1960, was the first birth-control pill to contain a mixture of estrogens and progestins for maximum effectiveness.

The Hungary-based Gedeon Richter pharmaceutical company produces a wide range of contraceptives.

Check out the company's introductory video!

Did you know?

Female hormones have been found in nut-trees. For the first time in history, scientists managed to isolate progesterone from plants. The hormone is thought to play an active role in the growth of young trees.

Estrogen molecule

Progesterone molecule