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Drug Safety

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 91–96 | Cite as

The Combined Oral Contraceptive

Risks and Adverse Effects in Perspective
  • Sue Bagshaw
Commentary

Summary

The risks and adverse effects of the low dose, new generation progestogen combined oral contraceptives (COCs) are much lower than original studies involving pills containing 50µg estrogen. The main effects are those on the cardiovascular system, lipid and glucose metabolism and cancer.

Any effect of the COC on myocardial infarction is probably minimal if the woman has no other risk factors especially smoking. The third generation progestogen, low dose COCs have very little effect on lipid or glucose metabolism.

There may be a slight increase in breast cancer if COCs are used under the age of 25 years and for more than 4 to 8 years, and in the risk of cervical cancer. It is too early to estimate long term cancer effects of the newer COCs.

Adverse effects such as nausea and breast tenderness can be managed by changing the estrogen dose or the type of progestogen.

Overall, the clinical benefits of the COC probably outweigh the risks and adverse effects.

Keywords

Adis International Limited Myocardial Infarc Combine Oral Contraceptive Breast Tenderness Estrogen Dose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Bagshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Manager Medical ServicesNew Zealand Family Planning Association, Southern RegionChristchurchNew Zealand

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