Ethinylestradiol is an estrogen medication that widely used in birth control pills in combination with
Progestins. In the past, Ethinylestradiol was earlier prescribed to treat various indications such as
menopausal symptoms, gynecological disorders, and certain hormone-sensitive cancers.
Ethinylestradiol is agonist of the estrogen receptors, the biological target of estrogens like estradiol. It
is a synthetic derivative of estradiol, a natural estrogen but differs from it in various ways. Compared
to estradiol, Ethinylestradiol has greatly improved bioavailability when taken by mouth, in addition to
being more resistant to metabolism. It also shows relatively better efficacy in certain parts of the body
like the liver and uterus. These differences make Ethinylestradiol more favorable for use in birth
control pills than estradiol. However, high usage can Increase the risk of blood clots and certain other
rare adverse side effects.
Ethinylestradiol was the first orally active synthetic estrogen and was described in 1938 by Hans
Herloff Inhoffen and Walter Hohlweg of Schering AG in Berlin. Schering got the first approval from the
FDA in 1943. It is marketed under the brand name Estinyl. However, it only started being used as
birth control pills later in the 1960s. Today, Ethinylestradiol is the exclusive estrogen used for this
purpose, making it one of if not the most widely used estrogens. The FDA withdrew approval of
Estinyl effective in 2004 at the request of Schering, which had discontinued marketing it. However, the
given the obvious societal benefits of the medicine, It is manufactured and sold under several brand
names by global and local manufacturers and labelers.
Forms and Dosage
Ethinylestradiol was previously available by itself under the brand name Estinyl in the form of 0.02,
0.05, and 0.5 mg (20, 50, and 500 µg) tablets. It is usually taken by mouth but is also used as a patch
and vaginal ring. Ethinylestradiol is available in combination with a progestin as a transdermal
contraceptive patch and as a contraceptive vaginal ring. In addition, there is a single preparation
containing very low doses of Ethinylestradiol plus a progestin in an oral tablet that remains in use for
menopausal hormone therapy.
The cost of Ethinylestradiol
For bulk industrial usage, the powder form is sold commercially at about USD 500. However, one of
the commonly sold brands sells for about USD 100 for monthly supply of 30 tablets. In developing
world, the price of imported powder is can vary between USD 15-30 due to domestic manufacturers.
How does Ethinylestradiol work?
Ethinylestradiol is a synthetic estrogenic compound. Use of estrogens have a number of effects on
the body including reduced bone density. Combined oral contraceptives suppress ovulation by
thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from traveling, and preventing changes in the
endometrium required in the implantation of a fertilized egg.
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