Danish Study: BCP’s Pose Higher Risk for Stroke and Cardiac Issues

Holy Hormones Honey!   BCP’s in the news again. A large Danish registry study found that the risks of thrombotic stroke or myocardial infarction (MI) roughly doubled in women taking oral contraceptives with low-to-moderate doses of ethinyl estradiol.

Arterial Events Rare but Higher with The Pill

MedPage Today
By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: June 13, 2012
Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

The relative risks of thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) are higher among users of hormonal contraception, although absolute risks remain low, a Danish study showed.

Use of oral contraceptives combining low-to-moderate doses of ethinyl estradiol and various progestins was associated with up to 2.3 times the risks of thrombotic stroke or MI compared with non-use, according to Øjvind Lidegaard, DrMedSci, of Copenhagen University Hospital, and colleagues.

The type of progestin in the pill had little effect on the risks, the researchers reported in the June 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To put the risk in perspective, they estimated that among 10,000 women taking a pill combining desogestrel with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 μg for 1 year, two will have arterial thrombosis and seven will have venous thrombosis.

“Although venous thrombosis is three to four times as frequent as arterial thrombosis among young women, the latter is associated with higher mortality and more serious consequences for the survivors,” they wrote. “Therefore, these figures should be taken into account when prescribing hormonal contraception.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.