Fifty Years of the Pill: Risk Reduction and Discovery of Benefits Beyond Contraception

Friday, February 17, 2012: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 110 (VCC West Building)
Widely regarded as a revolutionary drug in its early years, the pill might retrospectively be considered as the first "designer" or "lifestyle" drug. Since the introduction of oral contraceptives (OCs) in the 1960s, both health benefits and safety concerns have been attributed to their use. In most instances, the noncontraceptive benefits of OCs outweigh the potential risks. OCs are highly effective, safe, and widely used; about 85 percent of women in the United States will use an OC for an average of 5 years. However, widespread use of OC formulations by women throughout their reproductive lifecycle has given rise to concerns about the effects of OCs on risk factors for coronary heart disease. As with many drug firsts, many lessons can be learned from its development and use. Indeed, the pill played a significant role in reshaping pharmacology, social perceptions of medication, and the regulatory process for new drugs during the second half of the 20th century. In this symposium, speakers will present the science behind hormonal contraception, a brief history on the development of OCs, and the noncontraceptive health benefits of OCs, with a focus on a reduction in cardiovascular risks and where contraception science is heading in the future.
Brinda Mahadevan, Abbott Laboratories
Kristina D. Chadwick, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Femi Olatunbosun, University of Saskatchewan
and Deborah Keil, University of Utah School of Medicine
Kristina D. Chadwick, Bristol-Myers Squibb
The Pill: A Historical Overview, 1961–2011
M. Belen Tornesi, Abbott Laboratories
Novel Approaches for Contraception: Reflections and Forecast
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