Birth control pills and VTE risk

A progestin commonly used in birth control pills may increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). A recent report suggests that women taking oral contraceptives containing drospirenone may be at increased risk of VTE compared to women taking contraceptives containing other progestins. Two studies were recently published in BMJ. The first was a case-controlled study of U.S. women that showed that women taking drospirenone-containing contraceptives were twice as likely to develop nonfatal VTE compared to women taking levonorgestrel (BMJ 2011;342:d2151). The other study, a case-controlled study of British women, showed a three-fold higher rate of VTE with drospirenone-containing contraceptives compared to levonorgestrel (BMJ 2011;342:d2139). Oral contraceptives containing drospirenone include Yaz, Yasmin, and Angeliq.