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Study raises fears over contraceptive pills

26th April 2011

New research has suggested that thousands of women should consider switching their contraceptive pill to reduce the risk of a potential blood cot.

Research carried out on British and US records focused on woman taking the so-called "third generation" contraceptive pills which were developed in the 1980s.

It found that women who use this type of pill were three times more likely to suffer a blood clot than those who use older varieties.

Scientists, who published the results of their study online in the British Medical Journal, felt that there are no real advantages in taking the more recent drug and that women should ask their doctors for the older style of pill.

They have suggested that doctors should prescribe pills that contain the hormone levonorgestrel, rather than drospirenone.

In the first study, based on US medical claims data, a two-fold increase of a non-fatal blood clot was founding in women using the older pills. A second study using data from the UK General Practice Research Database, found a threefold increased risk.

The researchers said: “These findings support more recent studies that suggest that drospirenone oral contraceptives are not as safe as levonorgestrel oral contraceptives with respect to venous thromboembolism and, in the absence of other considerations, should not be the first choice in oral contraception.”

They say that it may be time for a systematic review of the topic.

Meanwhile, the Family Planning Association advised women to see their GP if they were worried about the contraceptive pill they were taking.

 

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