The pharmacokinetics of the commonly used contraceptive steroids ethinyloestradiol and levonorgestrel were investigated after oral and intravenous administration in six women with cystic fibrosis. The results were compared with data obtained from healthy women of similar age. The total body clearance of ethinyloestradiol was significantly higher in the patients with cystic fibrosis (0.61 (SD 0.19) l/h/kg) than in control women (0.32 (0.16) l/h/kg; p less than 0.02). In addition, the oral bioavailability of ethinyloestradiol was greater in women with cystic fibrosis than in controls (76.9% (11.7%) compared with 47.3% (7.5%); p less than 0.001). As a result of these two changes, the area under the plasma concentration--time curve after an oral dose of ethinyloestradiol was similar in patients and controls. The pharmacokinetics of levonorgestrel did not differ significantly between patients with cystic fibrosis and healthy women. The data suggest that women with cystic fibrosis will receive similar contraceptive protection from these steroids as do healthy women.
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