Data from transnational study of oral contraceptives have been misused

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7013.1162 (Published 28 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1162
  1. Walter O Spitzer
  1. Strathcona professor of epidemiology and of medicine McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    EDITOR,--The unpublished data from the transnational study of oral contraceptives have been misused and misinterpreted in Britain because of inexplicable haste and urgency not thought necessary by other major regulatory agencies. My colleagues and I do not agree that our findings justify the drastic actions taken in Britian, whereby a “Dear Doctor” letter was sent to doctors, warning that oral contraceptives containing desogestrel and gestodene are associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism (pp 1112, 1117, and 1172).1 Doctors should be vigilant but not stampeded. Patients need not panic. In particular, the risk estimates in Britain are systematically lower than those in the four other European countries that participated in the study.

    On 8 October my colleagues and I completed the …

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