CDRI develops new contraceptive drug, Cipla gets clinical trial nod

Levormeloxifene is an upgraded version of ‘Saheli’ pill, which was initially developed by CDRI in 1990 and used under ‘Chaya’ brand name under National Family Planning (NFP) programme

Contraceptive drug

Lucknow: The CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow has introduced an innovative contraceptive named ‘Levormeloxifene’, which is not only more efficacious, but also reduces load of chemicals on the body.

Pharmaceutical exports said that Levormeloxifene is an upgraded version of ‘Saheli’ pill, which was initially developed by CDRI in 1990. Once a staple during the 1990s, Saheli, also known as ‘Chaya’ under the National Family Planning (NFP) programme, has now evolved into Levormeloxifene.

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Radha Rangarajan, director of CSIR-CDRI, said, “The core objective behind this contraceptive’s development was to minimise the chemical content, particularly crucial for women in their reproductive phase who predominantly consume such tablets.”

Elaborating further she said that the compound ormeloxifene within Saheli comprises two enantiomers, dextro-ormeloxifene, and levo-ormeloxifene (levormeloxifene). “Extensive preclinical studies have indicated higher efficacy of the levo counterpart, levormeloxifene. This research solely focuses on testing the levo model as a contraceptive, thereby reducing the unnecessary use of dextro-ormeloxifene and alleviating women from undue chemical exposure,” she added.

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According to CSIR-CDRI officials, Cipla has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) to conduct phase-I clinical trials for Levormeoxifene. This investigational drug is a collaborative effort between Cipla and CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, aimed at developing an oral, non-hormonal contraceptive solution.

The development of this groundbreaking contraceptive is the culmination of a decade-long intensive research effort led by a team of scientists, including Wahajul Haq, Vivek Bhosle, Arun Trivedi, Rajesh Jha, Rabi Bhatta, Sharad Sharma, SK Rath and others.

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Upon successful clinical trials, this contraceptive will bolster family planning initiatives, adding to the existing range of contraceptive services within the programme. These services encompass Oral Contraceptive Pills, condoms, government-provided ‘Nirodh’ brand, intra-uterine contraceptive devices, female and male sterilisation, as well as emergency contraceptive pills (ECP).

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