Low dose birth control
pills may increase heart risk
July 13th 2005
A study authored by
Dr. John Nestler, a professor and chairman of the division of
endocrinology and metabolism at the Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Medicine in Richmond “suggests that women in general are at an
increased risk of having a cardiovascular event while taking even these
third-generation, low-dose, birth control pills”. The findings were
published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. They
reviewed studies published between 1980 and 2002.
The doctor suggests
that woman consider alternative forms of birth control. Taking the pill
will double the risk of heart attack or stroke. Even women that use the
newer lower dosage estrogen pills have twice the risk. According to the
US and Canadian researchers, prolonged use of the pill could increase a
woman’s chance of cardiovascular illness.
"Women using the
Pill are not going to automatically have a heart attack. However, our
findings do raise the issue of whether oral contraceptives are optimal
therapy for certain groups of women who are at baseline risk or who are
taking the Pill for a longer time, such as women with polycystic ovary
syndrome (PCOS)," he said.
There are two
million women in the US that have PCOS. Many of these women take oral
contraceptives to treat their condition. The doctor suggest women try
insulin-sensitizing drugs like Glucophage. This may be a safer
doubling of risk associated with the pill, the absolute risk for a
cardiovascular event in an individual woman taking the Pill is low,"
Prof Nestler said. Not all women are likely to be affected. Women that
are overweight and are at a higher risk of diabetes are most at risk.
Also, women with PCOS should
be aware of the heightened risk.
This should not be
considered medical advice. Always consult your physician before
beginning any medical regimen.
Best Syndication Staff Writer