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Pooled efficacy results of estetrol/drospirenone combined oral contraception phase 3 trials



To evaluate overall and subgroup efficacy of an estetrol (E4) 15 mg drospirenone (DRSP) 3 mg oral contraceptive in a 24/4-day regimen.

Study design

We pooled efficacy outcomes from 2 pivotal phase 3 contraceptive trials with E4/DRSP conducted in the United States/Canada and Europe/Russia. We assessed Pearl Index (PI; pregnancies per 100 participant-years) and 13-cycle life-table pregnancy rates in at-risk cycles (confirmed intercourse and no other contraceptive use) among participants 16 to 35 years. We calculated PI by age and further subcategorization (contraceptive history and body mass index [BMI]). We performed multivariable analysis using Cox regression to assess impact of potential confounding factors.


Analyses included 3027 participants, of whom 451 (14.9%) had a BMI ≥30 kg/m2. The pooled PI was 1.52 (95% confidence interval 1.04-2.16) and the 13-cycle life-table pregnancy rate was 1.28% (0.83%-1.73%). We calculated unadjusted pooled PI in participants 16 to 25 years and 26 to 35 years of 1.61 (0.94-2.57) and 1.43 (0.78-2.40), respectively; in new starters and switchers of 1.88 (1.09-3.00) and 1.24 (0.68-2.08), respectively; and by BMI <25 kg/m2, 25 to 29.9 kg/m2, and ≥30 kg/m2 of 1.14 (0.64-1.88), 2.19 (1.05-4.03), and 2.27 (0.83-4.94), respectively. In multivariable analysis, we found associations of prior pregnancy (hazard ratio [HR] 3.61[1.56-8.38]), Black race (HR 4.61[1.97-10.80]), age 16 to 25 years (HR 2.37[1.09-5.15]) and compliance <99% of expected pills (HR 4.21[2.04-8.66]) with conception.


E4/DRSP is an effective oral contraceptive overall and across subgroups stratified by age, contraceptive history, and BMI. Other than compliance, predictors of contraceptive failure are nonmodifiable.

Implications statement

Pooled results from two phase 3 trials demonstrate high contraceptive efficacy of the novel estetrol-drospirenone oral contraceptive. Several non-modifiable risk factors, including prior pregnancy, race, and age, are associated with higher pregnancy risk. Additional research is needed to better understand predictors of combined oral contraceptive failure.

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