A semisynthetic alkylated estradiol with a 17-alpha-ethinyl substitution. It has high estrogenic potency when administered orally and is often used as the estrogenic component in oral contraceptives [PubChem]. Ethinyl estradiol is marketed mostly as a combination oral contraceptive under several brand names such as Alesse, Tri-Cyclen, Triphasil, and Yasmin. The FDA label includes a black box warning that states that combination oral contraceptives should not be used in women over 35 years old who smoke due to the increased risk of serious cardiovascular side effects.
Humans and other mammals
For treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with the menopause, female hypogonadism, prostatic carcinoma-palliative therapy of advanced disease, breast cancer, as an oral contraceptive, and as emergency contraceptive.
Ethinyl estradiol is a synthetic derivative of the natural estrogen estradiol. It is one of two estrogens currently used in oral contraceptive pills. The other, mestranol, is converted to ethinyl estradiol before it is biologically active. Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone are used together as an oral contraceptive agent.
Mechanism of action
Estrogens diffuse into their target cells and interact with a protein receptor. Target cells include the female reproductive tract, the mammary gland, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary. Estrogens increase the hepatic synthesis of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), and other serum proteins and suppress follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary. This cascade is initiated by initially binding to the estrogen receptors. The combination of an estrogen with a progestin suppresses the hypothalamic-pituitary system, decreasing the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
Route of administration
Chemical Actions and Uses
Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C8 Inhibitors
Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A4 Substrates
Estrogenic Steroids, Alkylated
Genito Urinary System and Sex Hormones
Gonadal Steroid Hormones
Hormonal Contraceptives for Systemic Use
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Drug Info/Drug Targets: DrugBank 3.0: a comprehensive resource for 'omics' research on drugs. Knox C, Law V, Jewison
T, Liu P, Ly S, Frolkis A, Pon A, Banco K, Mak C, Neveu V, Djoumbou Y, Eisner R, Guo AC, Wishart DS.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Jan; 39 (Database issue):D1035-41. | PMID:21059682