By: 5 May 2021
Professor in Focus – Anita Nelson

Anita Nelson is the Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Western University of Health Sciences based in Pomona, California. She recently shared her latest study, “Efficacy and Safety of Levonorgestrel/ Ethinyl Estradiol, a Transdermal Contraceptive System, by BMI,” at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting. Here, she talks about her findings and its importance for clinical practice.

OGMN: As a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, could you tell us more about your experience and training background in this field?

AN: I have been involved in women’s care for over 35 years and have been lucky enough to be able to help women directly as patients, to teach new doctors and nurse practitioners and to conduct research on new therapies.

OGMN: What drove you to this career – and OB-GYN in particular?

AN: Truly my love of the field and a desire to make a difference.

OGMN: Tell us more about your recent study and clinical trials regarding a contraceptive patch and what were the conclusions?

AN: The SECURE trial was a comprehensive study with a thoroughly modern design. It followed the new FDA guidelines and enrolled women who were representative of modern American women and used modern electronic data collection systems. We found that, as with all other contraceptive patches, only women with BMI less than 30 kg/m2 are candidates. The failure rates are related to BMI, but safety and tolerability are comparable and very reassuring in both women with BMI < 25 and those with BMI between 25 and 30.


OGMN: How could this effect women’s health and clinical practice in the future?

AN: Women will have access to a convenient, weekly contraceptive patch with lower estrogen levels and a progestin known among pill users to have the lowest risk for thrombosis. Together this means that this patch may have the distinct potential to reduce thrombotic risk among patch users.

OGMN: Is this something that could be used by all women?

AN: This is meant for women who are candidates for combined hormonal contraceptives with BMI < 30.

OGMN: Can you tell us more about Twirla and Agile Therapeutics?

AN: They are committed to transparency. We continue to study the extensive amount of information that was collected during the clinical trial to see how we can provide more insights to clinicians and women.

OGMN: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

AN: Its wonderful diversity and the honour of being able to develop tools to help women.

OGMN: What’s next with regards your academic research?

AN: Continue to develop new options for contraception.

OGMN: How do you think the future looks in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology and what are your predictions for the decade ahead?

AN: OB-GYNs will become much more consultants and teachers. Women will be more deeply involved in their own care. We need to get them ready to partner with us on this new level.


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