Risks of oral contraceptive use in women over 35.J Reprod Med. 1993 Dec; 38(12 Suppl):1030-5.JR
Oral contraceptives are a reliable and convenient method of birth control. Nevertheless, physicians are reluctant to use them in women over 35 because of concerns about increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer despite evidence to the contrary. Well-designed studies have shown that the incidence of thromboembolic disease is related to the estrogen dose and that the risk of thromboembolism is highest in women who smoke. With current oral contraceptive formulations, there is no increased risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke in women without other risk factors. Oral contraceptives have been shown to protect against endometrial and ovarian cancer. The risk of breast cancer appears to be increased only minimally among current oral contraceptive users. Thus, oral contraceptives offer a safe and effective means of birth control in women over 35, especially in the absence of other risk factors.