New OCP pills increase blood clot risk
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 05:49:13 GMT
The new generation of oral contraceptive (OCP) pills may increase the risk of developing blood clots in women than the classical tablets, new studies show.
Two new studies showed that women who used contraceptive pills containing drospirenone, one of the hormones used in the popular brands Yasmin, Yaz and Ocella had two to threefold higher risk of thromboembolism compared to women taking older OCPs containing synthetic hormone levonorgestrel.
Thromboembolism is the formation of potentially dangerous blood clots in the veins, often in the legs. The clots may migrate through the blood circulatory system and become entrapped in organs like the lungs, brain, and heart and cause infarctions due to the blockage.
The US study conducted by researchers at Boston University found that drospirenone-containing pills double the risk of blood clots while the British research says the pills triple the chance.
“These findings support more recent studies that suggest that drospirenone oral contraceptives are not as safe as levonorgestrel oral contraceptives with respect to venous thromboembolism and, in the absence of other considerations, should not be the first choice in oral contraception,” wrote Susan S. Jick, and Rohini K. Hernandez of Boston University.
However, both studies published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) do not suggest women to stop taking OCPs. The researchers emphasize that the overall risk for blood clots with any birth control pill containing drospirenone or levonorgestrel are very low.
According to the findings, about three women out of 10,000 who take the drospirenone-containing pill for a year could be expected to develop a clot, compared to about 1.2 women in 10,000 who take levonorgestrel.
“The (clot) risk in pregnancy is much higher than for any oral contraceptive,” Jick tells WebMD. “Nevertheless, women taking these pills or considering taking them should be aware that there is very likely an increased risk associated with their use.”