The British Medical Journal has just published a study linking the newer contraceptive pills with a higher risk of blood clots. This finding is not new, several studies published over the past 20 years have similar findings, the first in 1995. Many women stopped their pill as a result and 1995 - 1996 saw an increase of 9% in the abortion rate in the UK and a 25% increase in births ( pregnancy and birth have a significantly higher risk of blood clots than taking any of the oral contraceptives, with rates at least 10 times higher).

The Statistics :


  • Between 3 and 5 women in 10,000 women not taking the pill will develop a blood clot every year
  • Between 6 and 10 women in 10,000 women taking the older style contraceptive pills ( eg levlen, microgynon) will develop a blood clot every year
  • Between 12 and 20 women in 10,000 women taking the newer pills ( eg yasmin, diane) will develop a blood clot every year

The more recent studies will hopefully help medical professionals and women  decide and discuss  who should not take the oral contraceptive due to further risk increase in blood clots caused by other factors in combination with the oral contraceptive, such as smokers, obese women, those over 35 years, those with a family history of blood clots and those with inherited disorders known to cause increased risk of clotting ( thrombophilias).

Women need to discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives of the oral contraceptive with their doctor.  For most women the benefits of combined oral contraceptives outweigh  the risks by a significant margin.

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