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Low dose birth control pills may increase heart risk

July 13th 2005

Birth Control Pills

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 alternative.

"Despite the 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. 

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM