Modern oral contraceptives and cardiovascular disease.Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Sep; 177(3):707-15.AJ
We reviewed evidence that bears on the cardiovascular safety of combined oral contraceptives containing second- and third-generation progestogens and < 50 micrograms of estrogen. Recent epidemiologic studies indicate that current use of these formulations is associated with a smaller increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolism than earlier formulations. In some studies the increase for third-generation formulations containing desogestrel or gestodene was about 1.5 to 2 times that for second-generation formulations, but there is evidence that differences between users in underlying risk and likelihood of being diagnosed contributed to this result. Recent studies of myocardial infarction suggest a smaller increase in risk associated with modern formulations than with earlier ones; one study suggests a threefold increase for second-generation formulations and no increase for third-generation formulations, but the finding requires confirmation. Recent studies of stroke indicate little or no increase in risk for modern formulations among women without risk factors. We conclude that modern combined oral contraceptives are safer than earlier formulations with respect to cardiovascular disease, which occurs rarely in young women.