Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Suggests Newer Oral Contraceptives May Be Less Harmful For Women Smokers

Date:
January 12, 2000
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Oral contraceptives are known to increase the risk of heart problems for smokers, and new research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that might be due in part to the specific type of hormones contained in "the pill."

CHAPEL HILL - Oral contraceptives are known to increase the risk of heart problems for smokers, and new research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that might be due in part to the specific type of hormones contained in "the pill."

Older "second-generation" oral contraceptives have a higher androgenic content because of the type of progesterone hormone used when compared to newer "third-generation" formulations.

For all women, older oral contraceptives produced higher blood pressures and more resistance to blood flow inside blood vessels during stressful situations, the UNC-CH School of Medicine study shows.

A report on the findings appears in the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a medical journal. Authors include psychology graduate student Patricia Straneva and Dr. Susan Girdler, assistant professor of psychiatry.

The UNC-CH study involved extensive testing of physiologic reactions of healthy women taking two different types of oral contraceptives, including 23 smokers and 23 nonsmokers, at rest and during mental and physical stress. Researchers induced stress by having volunteers perform rapid calculations, prepare and present short speeches and sit with a plastic bag of ice held to their foreheads for two minutes.

"Among smokers we found lower cardiac output, meaning that their hearts were pumping less blood, and greater vascular resistance, meaning that there was more tension in the blood vessels resisting blood flow," Straneva said. "This was not surprising considering the harmful effects of smoking on the heart."

Subjects who smoked and took older, more androgenic oral contraceptives showed the highest blood pressures and vascular resistance during stress, she said. All of the women, who were in their mid-20s, were healthy and had normal blood pressures when not under stress.

"Based on our findings, the type of progesterone should be an important consideration when determining which oral contraceptives to take, especially among women who continue to smoke," Straneva said. "For some women, the newer contraceptives may impart less risk, but that's a choice that ultimately needs to be made between a woman and her doctor."

The newer third-generation oral contraceptives might not be appropriate for all women, she said. One study suggested the medications might be linked with a higher risk of blood clot formation, while another more recent investigation indicated that might be true only for women genetically predisposed to clotting.

Some 22 million U.S. women continue to smoke, and many of them take oral contraceptives, Girdler said. Previous research has shown that smokers who take oral contraceptives face a higher risk of premature death than smokers who don't take oral contraceptives, and women who are on the pill but do not smoke.

However, those statistics were based on older formulations of the pill, some of which are no longer made, she said. Clearly, more research on newer formulations needs to be done.

The National Institutes of Health and the UNC-CH Women's Health Research Grants Committee supported the research. Other authors of the report were Dr. Alan Hinderliter, associate professor of medicine; Dr. Ellen Wells, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology; and research assistant Healther Lenahan.

While both smoking and oral contraceptives have been studied extensively, the new research is believed to be the first to examine cardiovascular responses to stress among smokers taking different formulations of the drugs. Its limitations included its relatively small size and that volunteers were not randomly assigned to the contraceptives they took.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Suggests Newer Oral Contraceptives May Be Less Harmful For Women Smokers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112074734.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (2000, January 12). Study Suggests Newer Oral Contraceptives May Be Less Harmful For Women Smokers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112074734.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Study Suggests Newer Oral Contraceptives May Be Less Harmful For Women Smokers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112074734.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins