Background: There is evidence that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors can prevent or delay follicular rupture. COX-2 inhibitors, such as meloxicam, may offer advantages over emergency contraception with levonorgestrel, such as extending the therapeutic window for up to 24 h. We assessed the effect of meloxicam administered in the late follicular phase upon ovulation in women.
Materials and methods: This was a single center, double blind, crossover study designed to assess the effects in 27 eligible women (18-40 years old, surgically sterilized with regular menstrual cycles) of meloxicam, 15 or 30 mg/day, administered orally for five consecutive days during the late follicular phase, starting when the leading follicle reached 18 mm diameter. Volunteers underwent two treatment cycles separated by one resting cycle, with randomization to dose sequence. Main outcomes were follicular rupture; serum LH, progesterone and estradiol (E2) levels; and incidence of adverse events.
Results: Twenty-two volunteers completed the study. There were no differences between meloxicam doses in menstrual cycle length. Dysfunctional ovulation was observed in 11/22 (50%) cycles treated with 15 mg/day and 20/22 (90.9%) cycles with 30 mg/day (P = 0.0068). All women had normal luteal phase progesterone levels; mean maximal values +/- SEM were 42 +/- 4.1 and 46.8 +/- 2.6 nmol/l for 15 and 30 mg/day groups, respectively. There were no serious adverse events, and no changes in LH and E2 levels or in cycle length.
Conclusions: Meloxicam 30 mg given for five consecutive days in the late follicular phase is safe, effective and may be an alternative form of emergency contraception.