Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Centchroman (or 'Ormeloxifene') is a potent non-steroidal non-hormonal birth control method. Although it does not contain hormones, it acts on the hormones produced in the body, especially progesterone. It is a once-a-week oral contraceptive which has been proved to be not only highly effective but also safe.
Centchroman is a SERM - a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. It acts on estrogen receptors in the body to either stimulate or suppress the receptors.
What is interesting about Centchroman is that it suppresses the receptors in the reproductive organs like the ovaries, uterus and breasts. But it stimulates the estrogen receptors of other organs like the bones. So, while it acts as a birth control pill, it can prevent breast cancers, uterine cancers and stimulate the formation of new bones.
Developed by the Central Drug Research Institute of India in the late nineties, Centchroman has undergone extensive clinical trials. It has a failure rate of only 1.63% which compares favorably with other birth control pills which have a failure rate of 1 to 1.5%.
Centchroman is believed to be more effective than other birth control methods like condoms, the intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs), the rhythm method and the oral contraceptive pills .
Centchroman acts at three points in the reproductive cycle:
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Centchroman is available as 30mg tablets. A single tablet should be taken twice a week (on a sunday and a wednesday) for the first three months and then weekly (every sunday) thereafter. The first pill is taken on the first day of the period or the first sunday after the first day of the period. Additional contraceptives like condoms should be used for the first month.
But a thorough pelvic examination is necessary before starting birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone since these hormones can affect both these organs.
But most users have agreed that this is a safe and effective alternative to the the estrogen-progesterone birth control pills.
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