Azurette: Package Insert and Label Information

AZURETTE — desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol
Mayne Pharma Inc.

Rx only

Patients should be counseled that this product does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Azurette (Desogestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets, USP and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets, USP) provide an oral contraceptive regimen of 21 dark blue tablets each containing 0.15 mg desogestrel (13-ethyl-11-methylene-18,19-dinor-17 alpha-pregn-4-en-20-yn-17-ol), 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol (19-nor-17 alpha-pregna-1,3,5 (10)-trien-20-yne-3,17-diol), and inactive ingredients which include: titanium dioxide, macrogol/PEG 400 NF, hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose/hypromellose, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Blue #1, vitamin E, lactose monohydrate, povidone, stearic acid and pregelatinized starch, followed by 2 white tablets with the following inactive ingredients: titanium dioxide, polydextrose, hypromellose, triacetin, macrogol/polyethylene glycol 8000, lactose, magnesium stearate and pregelatinized corn starch. Azurette also contains 5 green tablets containing 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiol (19-nor-17 alpha-pregna-1,3,5 (10)-trien-20-yne-3,17-diol) and inactive ingredients which include: polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, talc, macrogol/PEG, lecithin (soya), D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Blue No. 1, Iron Oxide Yellow, FD&C Red No. 40, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate and pregelatinized starch. The molecular weights for desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol are 310.48 and 296.21 respectively. The structural formulas are as follows:

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The 21 dark blue tablets meet USP Dissolution Test 2.


Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).

Receptor binding studies, as well as studies in animals, have shown that etonogestrel, the biologically active metabolite of desogestrel, combines high progestational activity with minimal intrinsic androgenicity.91,92 The relevance of this latter finding in humans is unknown.



Desogestrel is rapidly and almost completely absorbed and converted into etonogestrel, its biologically active metabolite. Following oral administration, the relative bioavailability of desogestrel compared to a solution, as measured by serum levels of etonogestrel, is approximately 100%. Azurette (desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets, USP and ethinyl estradiol tablets, USP) provide two different regimens of ethinyl estradiol; 0.02 mg in the combination tablet [dark blue] as well as 0.01 mg in the green tablet. Ethinyl estradiol is rapidly and almost completely absorbed. After a single dose of desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol combination tablet [dark blue], the relative bioavailability of ethinyl estradiol is approximately 93% while the relative bioavailability of the 0.01 mg tablet [green] is 99%. The effect of food on the bioavailability of Azurette tablets following oral administration has not been evaluated.

The pharmacokinetics of etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol following multiple dose administration of desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol tablets were determined during the third cycle in 17 subjects. Plasma concentrations of etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol reached steady-state by Day 21. The AUC(0–24) for etonogestrel at steady-state on Day 21 was approximately 2.2 times higher than AUC(0–24) on Day 1 of the third cycle. The pharmacokinetic parameters of etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol during the third cycle following multiple dose administration of desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol tablets are summarized in Table I.

Day Dose* Cm a x Tm a x t1 / 2 AUC0 2 4 CL/F
mg pg/mL h h pg/mL•hr L/h
1 0.15 2503.6 (987.6) 2.4 (1.0) 29.8 (16.3) 17,832 (5674) 5.4 (2.5)
21 0.15 4091.2 (1186.2) 1.6 (0.7) 27.8 (7.2) 39,391 (12,134) 4.4 (1.4)
Ethinyl Estradiol
Day Dose Cm a x Tm a x t1 / 2 AUC0 2 4 CL/F
mg pg/mL h h pg/mL•hr L/h
1 0.02 51.9 (15.4) 2.9 (1.2) 16.5 (4.8) 566 (173)a 25.7 (9.1)
21 0.02 62.2 (25.9) 2.0 (0.8) 23.9 (25.5) 597 (127)a 35.1 (8.2)
24 0.01 24.6 (10.8) 2.4 (1.0) 18.8 (10.3) 246 (65) 43.6 (12.2)
28 0.01 35.3 (27.5) 2.1 (1.3) 18.9 (8.3) 312 (62) 33.2 (6.6)
a n=16
Cm a x – measured peak concentration
Tm a x – observed time of peak concentration
t1 / 2 – elimination half-life, calculated by 0.693/Ke l i m
AUC0 2 4 – area under the concentration-time curve calculated by the linear trapezoidal rule (Time 0 to 24 hours)
CL/F – apparent clearance


Etonogestrel, the active metabolite of desogestrel, was found to be 99% protein bound, primarily to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Ethinyl estradiol is approximately 98.3% bound, mainly to plasma albumin. Ethinyl estradiol does not bind to SHBG, but induces SHBG synthesis. Desogestrel, in combination with ethinyl estradiol, does not counteract the estrogen-induced increase in SHBG, resulting in lower serum levels of free testosterone.96–99


Desogestrel: Desogestrel is rapidly and completely metabolized by hydroxylation in the intestinal mucosa and on first pass through the liver to etonogestrel. Other metabolites (i.e., 3α-OH-desogestrel, 3β-OH-desogestrel, and 3α-OH-5α-H-desogestrel) with no pharmacologic actions also have been identified and these metabolites may undergo glucuronide and sulfate conjugation.

Ethinyl estradiol: Ethinyl estradiol is subject to a significant degree of presystemic conjugation (phase II metabolism). Ethinyl estradiol escaping gut wall conjugation undergoes phase I metabolism and hepatic conjugation (phase II metabolism). Major phase I metabolites are 2-OH-ethinyl estradiol and 2-methoxy-ethinyl estradiol. Sulfate and glucuronide conjugates of both ethinyl estradiol and phase I metabolites, which are excreted in bile, can undergo enterohepatic circulation.


Etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol are excreted in urine, bile, and feces. At steady state, on Day 21, the elimination half-life of etonogestrel is 27.8±7.2 hours and the elimination half-life of ethinyl estradiol for the combination tablet is 23.9±25.5 hours. For the 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiol tablet [green], the elimination half-life at steady state, Day 28, is 18.9±8.3 hours.

Special Populations


There is no information to determine the effect of race on the pharmacokinetics of Azurette (desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets, USP and ethinyl estradiol tablets, USP)

Hepatic Insufficiency

No formal studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic disease on the disposition of Azurette.

Renal Insufficiency

No formal studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of renal disease on the disposition of Azurette.

Drug-Drug Interactions

Interactions between desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol and other drugs have been reported in the literature. No formal drug-drug interaction studies were conducted (see PRECAUTIONS section).


Azurette (Desogestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets, USP and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets, USP) is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who elect to use this product as a method of contraception.

Oral contraceptives are highly effective. Table II lists the typical accidental pregnancy rates for users of combination oral contraceptives and other methods of contraception. The efficacy of these contraceptive methods, except sterilization, depends upon the reliability with which they are used. Correct and consistent use of these methods can result in lower failure rates.

TABLE II : Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy during the first year of typical use and the first year of perfect use of contraception and the percentage continuing use at the end of the first year, United States.
% of Women Experiencing an Unintended Pregnancy within the First Year of Use % of Women Continuing Use at One Year3
Method Typical Use1 Perfect Use2
( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 ) ( 4 )
Chance4 85 85
Spermicides5 26 6 40
Periodic abstinence 25 63
Calendar 9
Ovulation Method 3
Sympto-Thermal6 2
Post-Ovulation 1
Withdrawal 19 4
Parous Women 40 26 42
Nulliparous Women 20 9 56
Parous Women 40 20 42
Nulliparous Women 20 9 56
Diaphragm7 20 6 56
Female (Reality) 21 5 56
Male 14 3 61
Pill 5 71
Progestin Only 0.5
Combined 0.1
Progesterone T 2.0 1.5 81
Copper T 380A 0.8 0.6 78
LNg 20 0.1 0.1 81
Depo-Provera 0.3 0.3 70
Norplant and Norplant-2 0.05 0.05 88
Female sterilization 0.5 0.5 100
Male sterilization 0.15 0.10 100

Adapted from Hatcher et al., 1998, Ref#1.

1 Among typical couples who initiate use of a method (not necessarily for the first time), the percentage who experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.

2 Among couples who initiate use of a method (not necessarily for the first time) and who use it perfectly (both consistently and correctly), the percentage who experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.

3 Among couples attempting to avoid pregnancy, the percentage who continue to use a method for one year.

4 The percents becoming pregnant in columns (2) and (3) are based on data from populations where contraception is not used and from women who cease using contraception in order to become pregnant. Among such populations, about 89% become pregnant within one year. This estimate was lowered slightly (to 85%) to represent the percent who would become pregnant within one year among women now relying on reversible methods of contraception if they abandoned contraception altogether.

5 Foams, creams, gels, vaginal suppositories, and vaginal film.

6 Cervical mucus (ovulation) method supplemented by calendar in the pre-ovulatory and basal body temperature in the post-ovulatory phases.

7 With spermicidal cream or jelly.

8 Without spermicides. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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