The oral contraceptive – better known simply as ‘the pill’ – is a part of everyday life. And while its very existence still attracts strong and conflicting opinions, it has revolutionised the lives of countless women in the last 50 years. Because it was on May 9, 1960, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conditionally approved the drug Enovid 10mg – the world’s first birth control pill.
Surprisingly, Enovid had already been available for several years. Used by tens of thousands of women for infertility and menstrual problems. But its contraceptive properties were confirmed by a number of researchers – notably John Rock and Gregory Pincus.
As for Enovid, it’s solitary reign was short-lived as other branded products appeared. And like other early pills, it eventually became linked to thrombosis and other health problems. Later prescribed in lower doses, production of the drug was discontinued in 1988.
Fifty years of experience have helped improve safety and oral contraceptives are amongst the most prescribed drugs worldwide – a situation unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. And while long consigned to the pharmacological scrapheap, one iconic drug’s place in this ongoing story is assured. Happy Birthday Enovid!