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Many women not using safest pill

14th August 2009

Researchers say many women are not taking the safest brand of contraceptive pill for them.

PillPacket1

However, women who are concerned should not stop taking the pill but speak to their doctor first.

Separate studies in the British Medical Journal have found that some oral contraceptives were linked with a higher risk of blood clot than others, though experts have stressed that blood clots are a rare side-effect of the combined pill and the risk overall is small.

There has been evidence for some time that the combined pill containing oestrogen and progestogen was associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis and in recent years the levels of oestrogen have been reduced.

A study by Dutch researchers examined data from 1,524 women who had developed venous thrombosis. They found that overall taking the pill was associated with a five-fold increased risk of a clot.

However, there were variations between different brands of pill.

But the researchers said: “Currently available oral contraceptives still have a major impact on thrombosis occurrence and many women do not use the safest brands with regard to risk of venous thrombosis.”

A second study, by Danish researchers, also found that contraceptives containing levonorgestrel were associated with a lower risk than those containing desogestrel, gestodene or drospirenone.

The Family Planning Association (FPA) said that although the combined pill did slightly increase the risk of thrombosis, the risk was still really low.

Spokeswoman Lynn Hearton said women who were worried should continue taking it and seek advice from a health professional.

 

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