Neutrophil alkaline phosphatase (NAP) activity is increased during pregnancy. This study
confirms the clinical impression that oral contraceptive hormones may increase NAP. Eighty-four
healthy female subjects receiving any one of four
commonly prescribed oral contraceptive hormone
preparations demonstrated a mean increase of
approximately three times values determined in
61 control subjects. Peak levels were noted during the final week of the menstrual cycle. The
NAP returned to normal during the first week of
the subsequent menstrual cycle. Oral administration of either of the constituents of a selected
oral contraceptive (mestranol, 0.1 mg, or norethindrone, 2 mg daily) for 20 consecutive days
also significantly increased NAP over control
levels. The diagnostic usefulness of the NAP
reaction in clinical medicine may be minimized
as more of the general female population use
oral contraceptive hormones.
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