Chhaya is a non-steroidal contraceptive pill developed by Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) has been included in the National Family Planning Programme (NFPP). Previously centchroman was available as Saheli tablets developed and marketed by a private firm.
The tablets in the form or 8 tablet pack is available free of cost at all PHC/CHC/Govt. Hospitals.
- Centchroman (or ‘Ormeloxifene’) is a potent non-steroidal non-hormonal birth control method.
- It is a once-a-week oral contraceptive which has been proved to be not only highly effective but also safe.
- Centchroman is a SERM – a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. It acts on estrogen receptors. It suppresses the receptors in the reproductive organs like the ovaries, uterus and breasts. But it stimulates the estrogen receptors of other organs like the bones. So, while it acts as a birth control pill, it can prevent breast cancers, uterine cancers and stimulate the formation of new bones.
- It has a failure rate of only 1.63% which compares favorably with other birth control pills which have a failure rate of 1 to 1.5%.
Centchroman acts at three points in the reproductive cycle:
- It increases the movement of the fertilized ovum through the fallopian tubes so that it reaches the uterus too early when the endometrium is not ready for implantation at that time.
- It increases the rate of maturation of the ovum so that it is hypermature when it reaches the endometrium and fails to implant in it.
- It slows down the growth and development of the endometrium so that it is not adequately prepared to receive the fertilized ovum when it reaches the uterus.
Disadvantages of Centchroman
- Centchroman causes delayed menstruation in some women. But this occurs in less than 10% of users and usually in the first three months. The periods tend to settle down to a rhythm once the body gets used to the drug.
- There may be heavier menstruation in the first three months with tender breasts, water retention and some amount of acne.
- Periods can get scanty over time in some women.