|Trade names||Enovid, Norinyl, Ortho-Novum, others|
|Synonyms||Ethinylestradiol 3-methyl ether; EEME; EE3ME; CB-8027; L-33355; RS-1044; 17α-Ethynylestradiol 3-methyl ether; 17α-Ethynyl-3-methoxyestra-1,3,5(10)-trien-17β-ol; 3-Methoxy-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trien-20-yn-17α-ol|
|AHFS/Drugs.com||International Drug Names|
|Drug class||Estrogen; Estrogen ether|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||310.437 g/mol|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Mestranol, sold under the brand names Enovid, Norinyl, and Ortho-Novum among others, is an estrogen medication which has been used in birth control pills, menopausal hormone therapy, and the treatment of menstrual disorders. It is formulated in combination with a progestin and is not available alone. It is taken by mouth.
Side effects of mestranol include nausea, breast tension, edema, and breakthrough bleeding among others. It is an estrogen, or an agonist of the estrogen receptors, the biological target of estrogens like estradiol. Mestranol is a prodrug of ethinylestradiol in the body.
Mestranol was discovered in 1956 and was introduced for medical use in 1957. It was the estrogen component in the first birth control pill. In 1969, mestranol was replaced by ethinylestradiol in most birth control pills, although mestranol continues to be used in a few birth control pills even today. Mestranol remains available only in a few countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Chile.
Mestranol was employed as the estrogen component in many of the first oral contraceptives, such as mestranol/noretynodrel (brand name Enovid) and mestranol/norethisterone (brand names Ortho-Novum, Norinyl), and is still in use today. In addition to its use as an oral contraceptive, mestranol has been used as a component of menopausal hormone therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Mestranol is a biologically inactive prodrug of ethinylestradiol to which it is demethylated in the liver with a conversion efficiency of 70% (50 µg of mestranol is pharmacokinetically bioequivalent to 35 µg of ethinylestradiol, or ethinylestradiol being about 1.7 times as orally potent by weight as mestranol). It has been found to possess about 2.3% of the relative binding affinity of estradiol (100%) for the estrogen receptor, compared to 190% for ethinylestradiol.
Mestranol, also known as ethinylestradiol 3-methyl ether (EEME) or as 17α-ethynyl-3-methoxyestra-1,3,5(10)-trien-17β-ol, is a synthetic estrane steroid and a derivative of estradiol. It is specifically a derivative of ethinylestradiol (17α-ethynylestradiol) with a methyl ether at the C3 position.
In April 1956, noretynodrel was investigated, in Puerto Rico, in the first large-scale clinical trial of a progestogen as an oral contraceptive. The trial was conducted in Puerto Rico due to the high birth rate in the country and concerns of moral censure in the United States. It was discovered early into the study that the initial chemical syntheses of noretynodrel had been contaminated with small amounts (1–2%) of the 3-methyl ether of ethinylestradiol (noretynodrel having been synthesized from ethinylestradiol). When this impurity was removed, higher rates of breakthrough bleeding occurred. As a result, mestranol, that same year (1956), was developed and serendipitously identified as a very potent synthetic estrogen (and eventually as a prodrug of ethinylestradiol), given its name, and added back to the formulation. This resulted in Enovid by G. D. Searle & Company, the first oral contraceptive and a combination of 9.85 mg noretynodrel and 150 μg mestranol per pill.
Around 1969, mestranol was replaced by ethinylestradiol in most combined oral contraceptives due to widespread panic about the recently uncovered increased risk of venous thromboembolism with estrogen-containing oral contraceptives. The rationale was that ethinylestradiol was approximately twice as potent by weight as mestranol and hence that the dose could be halved, which it was thought might result in a lower incidence of venous thromboembolism. Whether this actually did result in a lower incidence of venous thromboembolism has never been assessed.
Society and culture
Mestranol has been marketed under a variety of brand names, mostly or exclusively in combination with progestins, including Devocin, Enavid, Enovid, Femigen, Mestranol, Norbiogest, Ortho-Novin, Ortho-Novum, Ovastol, and Tranel among others. Today, it continues to be sold in combination with progestins under brand names including Lutedion, Necon, Norinyl, Ortho-Novum, and Sophia.
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EE is about 1.7 times as potent as the same weight of mestranol.
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