The combined oral contraceptive. Risks and adverse effects in perspective.Drug Saf. 1995 Feb; 12(2):91-6.DS
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 50 micrograms 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 outweight the risks and adverse effects.