Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low-dose Oral Contraceptives May Increase Risk For Heart Attack Or Stroke

Date:
July 7, 2005
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Women using low-dose oral contraceptives are at an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke while taking the pill -- however the risk disappears after discontinuation, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

RICHMOND, Va. (July 7, 2005) -- Women using low-dose oral contraceptives are at an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke while taking the pill -- however the risk disappears after discontinuation, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The findings could have further significance for those women taking low-dose oral contraceptives who already are at increased risk for such events because of polycystic ovary syndrome, or metabolic disorder, according to John Nestler, M.D., professor and chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the VCU School of Medicine.

In the study, researchers reported that the overall estimated risk of cardiovascular events -- both heart attack and stroke -- among current low-dose oral contraceptive users was doubled compared to non-users.

The findings are based on a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed literature. The researchers examined several separate-but-similar experiments that were designed to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the current use of low-dose oral contraceptives in the population-at-large. The analysis included studies published between January 1980 and October 2002.

"The study 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," said Nestler.

"Prolonged exposure to low-dose oral contraceptives in a population at higher risk may significantly increase the incidence of cardiovascular outcomes and prompt consideration of alternative therapeutic or contraceptive interventions," he wrote.

"A number of women with metabolic syndrome or polycystic ovary syndrome already are at increased risk for heart attack, and a majority of women with PCOS are treated with low-dose oral contraceptives for a prolonged period of time," he said. "An insulin-sensitizing drug might confer better general health benefits than the oral contraceptive."

"For example, insulin-sensitizing drugs have been shown to decrease progression to Type 2 diabetes, and there is evidence suggesting that they also may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors," he said.

PCOS is a condition that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels and appearance.

"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 -- Women using the pill are not going to automatically have a heart attack," said Nestler. "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 PCOS."

According to Nestler, previous epidemiological studies have shown an increased risk of cardiovascular events associated with oral contraceptives in women with hypertension, migraines, or who smoke.

Nestler collaborated with Jean-Patrice Baillargeon, M.D., from the Universit-- de Sherbrooke in Canada, and Paulina A. Essah, M.D., of VCU's Division of General Internal Medicine. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Fond de Recherche en Sant-- du Qu--bec.

###

About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, Va., Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked nationally by the Carnegie Foundation as a top research institution and enrolls more than 28,500 students in more than 181 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral programs in the arts, sciences and humanities in 15 schools and one college. Forty of the university's programs are unique in Virginia, and 20 graduate and professional programs have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best of their kind. MCV Hospitals, clinics and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the leading academic medical centers in the country. For more, see www.vcu.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Low-dose Oral Contraceptives May Increase Risk For Heart Attack Or Stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050707055832.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2005, July 7). Low-dose Oral Contraceptives May Increase Risk For Heart Attack Or Stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050707055832.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Low-dose Oral Contraceptives May Increase Risk For Heart Attack Or Stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050707055832.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 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