Contraceptive drugs are used to prevent pregnancy. They work either by changing the hormonal environment of the female reproductive tract so that an ovum is not produced, killing the spermatozoa, or keeping the fertilized ovum from implanting to the endometrium. There are many drugs that can do this. Some include oral contraceptives, transdermal patches, and even implants.
Pregnancy occurs when an ovum is fertilized by a spermatozoon from the male. In females, the anterior pituitary gland produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the follicle in the ovary to form a mature ovum and also to secrete estradiol which thickens the endometrium. Later, the anterior pituitary gland also produces luteinizing hormone (LH), which makes the follicle release the mature ovum. This process is known as ovulation. LH later causes what remains of the follicle (corpus luteum) to release estradiol and progesterone. If the ovum is fertilized, progesterone and estradiol continue to be secreted. If the ovum is not fertilized, the corpus luteum disintegrates and progesterone secretion stops. This causes the uterine lining to disintegrate and be discarded in the process known as menstruation (Turley, 2010, p. 209).
Humans have been using different forms of contraception since ancient times. In ancient Egypt, women used a combination of cotton, dates, honey, and acacia as a suppository to prevent pregnancy. Now it has been proven that fermented acacia does indeed have a spermicidal effect. There are also references in both the Koran and the Bible to coitus interruptus, which refers to the withdrawal method. Between 1914 and 1921, activist Margaret Sanger coined the term “birth control” and opened the first birth control clinic. In 1951, Mexican chemist Carl Djerassi formulated a pill by synthesizing hormones from yams. Even though the pill worked at the chemical level, it could not be tested or distributed. In 1960 the FDA finally approved the pill as a contraceptive. During these years, there were many improvements and changes made to the original drug that reduced the negative side effects. In 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that contraception should be covered by health insurance provided by employers. It is important to note that contraceptive drugs do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. There are also still issues with the adverse effects of drugs like YAZ, Ocella, and Yasmin (Nikolchev, 2010), all of which are oral contraceptives.
Oral contraceptives are probably the largest class of contraceptives and they are separated into three groups: monophasic, biphasic, and triphasic. They are 99 percent effective if used properly. They work by replacing the hormones progesterone and estradiol. This stops the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland, and therefore a mature ovum is never developed or released, which gives the spermatozoa nothing to fertilize. They can also cause changes in the cervical...