Birth control pills and blood clots in obese women

A paper published in the journal ESC Heart Failure reported that obese women who use combined oral contraceptives have a 24-fold increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared to non-obese women who do not use the drugs.

The authors of the study reported in the abstract of the paper: “Obesity and estrogen-containing contraceptive products are well-known independent cardiovascular risk factors. However, a significant number of obese women continue to receive prescriptions of hormonal products that contain estrogens for their contraception.”

Obese women already had an increased risk of VTE compared to non-obese women. Using combined hormonal contraception presents a greater risk (between 12 and 24 times) to develop VTE. VTE is defined as a blood clot in a vein. There are two potentially fatal conditions: deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

The author of the study Professor Giuseppe Rosano concluded, “Obese women taking contraceptives should be viewed as an ‘at risk’ population, and as such, they should receive advice to change their lifestyle, avoiding other cardiovascular risk factors, as a form of primary prevention. This indication should be extended to young women, as data show that combined oral contraceptives should be avoided in obese women of any age”.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.