Not con­doms or pills, but monthly shots

Mint ST - - FRONT PAGE - [email protected] NEW DELHI

Aonce-a-month con­tra­cep­tive shot is set to give women more con­trol over their bod­ies and pre­vent un­wanted preg­nan­cies, al­though the bur­den of con­tra­cep­tion will still fall largely on them as male con­dom us­age and ster­il­iza­tion have plunged.

While the use of con­doms has de­clined 52% in eight years till 2016, va­sec­tomy cases have fallen 73%, ac­cord­ing to the health min­istry. The use of birth con­trol pills has also dropped 39% be­tween 2008-16.

That may change soon, with an ex­pert group ap­prov­ing fixed-dose com­bi­na­tions (FDCS) of syn­thetic oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone and medrox­ypro­ges­terone 25 mg and estra­diol cy­p­i­onate 5 mg in­jec­tion. The con­tra­cep­tive of­fers pro­tec­tion to women of re­pro­duc­tive age when in­jected monthly.

The com­bi­na­tion of oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone was banned in Au­gust 1989. In 2017, an ex­pert group un­der the chair­man­ship of the then di­rec­tor gen­eral the In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search (ICMR), Dr Soumya Swami­nathan, rec­om­mended that the Drug Con­troller Gen­eral of In­dia (DCGI) re­move the ban on the com­bined in­jectable con­tra­cep­tive cy­clofem (the com­bi­na­tion of pro­ges­terone and oe­stro­gen) so that it can be made com­mer­cially avail­able. In March 2018, the direc­torate gen­eral of health ser­vices (DGHS) con­sti­tuted a sub-com­mit­tee un­der the chair­man­ship of Dr Nil­ima Kshir­sagar, na­tional chair in clin­i­cal phar­ma­col­ogy at ICMR, to ex­am­ine the fea­si­bil­ity of lift­ing the ban on con­tra­cep­tive cy­clofem.

The ex­pert com­mit­tee found enough ev­i­dence about the safety and ef­fi­cacy of the in­jectable

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