A new study published in the journal BMJ has found that women who take birth control pills that use newer types of the progestin hormone have three times the risk of developing blood clots compared with women not taking the oral contraceptive.
Blood clots have been a known risk of taking the pill since the 1990s. Drugmakers have been changing the progesterone levels of the pill since it was first introduced in 1960 in order to lower side effects like weight gain and acne. Those tweaks could be the reason why the risk of blood clots went up, considering that the scientists adjusted for factors like cancer, varicose veins, smoking, and obesity on the risk of blood clots, and the link between newer contraceptives and an increased risk of blood clots remained high, Time reports.
"Our study suggests that the newer contraceptives have a higher risk of [blood clots] than the older agents," Yana Vinogradova, research fellow at the University of Nottingham and lead for the study, told Time. "While [blood clots] are a relatively rare problem, they are serious and potentially avoidable with the appropriate drug choice. Doctors need to consider all health issues when prescribing contraceptives, selecting a drug type associated with the lowest risk for patients with particular susceptibilities."
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