Newer contraceptive pill 'linked to blood clots'

Third-generation pills come with a slightly increased risk of clotting Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Women who take newer brands of the pill are almost twice as likely to be at risk of blood clots than those using older types, a new study by researchers in the Midlands has found.

Nottingham University researchers say their study indicates a link between newer contraceptive pills and a higher risk of serious blood clots.

The study comes days after it was revealed that 21-year-old Fallan Kurek from Tamworth collapsed and died from a blood clot on her lung less than a month after she had started taking the Pill.

Her parents blame the fatal clot on the Pill, which her GP had prescribed to regulate her periods.

Fallon had been taking a Pill with a progestogen hormone called levonorgestrel, which the study says is among the lowest risk as a second-generation Pill, but it is still two-and-a-half times more likely to cause clots than not taking any oral contraceptives.

The information gathered in a study by researchers:

  • Users of any combined oral contraceptive are at an increased risk of the serious blood clots known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared with non-users of similar age and health.

  • Pills containing one of the newer types of progestogen hormone - such as drospirenone, desogestrel, gestodene, and cyproterone - are associated with an increased risk of VTE than pills containing older progestogens such as levonorgestrel and norethisterone.

  • The risks for women using newer pills were around 1.5 - 1.8 times higher than for women using older pills.

  • Compared with women not using oral contraceptives, women using older pills, containing levonorgestrel, norethisterone, and norgestimate, had about two and a half times increased risk of VTE.

  • Women using newer pills, containing drospirenone, desogestrel, gestodene, and cyproterone, had around a four times increased risk of VTE.

The researchers argued that the results “provide evidence for relevant authorities concerned with prescribing guidelines or those involved with regulation of safety of medicines”.

The researchers stressed that oral contraceptives are safe and that women on combined contraceptive drugs “should not stop using them, but should consult their doctor and review their current type of pill at their next appointment if there are any concerns”.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard of the Royal College of GPs, described the combined pill as an “excellent contraceptive choice for the majority of women”.