Intended for healthcare professionals


Third generation oral contraceptive pills

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 28 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1112
  1. Kenneth MacRae,
  2. Clifford Kay
  1. Reader in medical statistics Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London W6 8RP
  2. Consultant Royal College of General Practitioners Research Unit, Northenden, Manchester M22 4DB
  3. Dr MacRae is a member of the international scientific review board for the transnational study.
  4. Dr Kay is a member of the United Kingdom steering committee for the transnational study.

    Is the scare over the increased risk of thrombosis justified?

    Britain's Committee on Safety of Medicines has issued a recommendation that combined oral contraceptives containing the so called third generation progestogens, desogestrel and gestodene, should no longer be routinely prescribed. The committee came to this conclusion after examining the data from three unpublished studies, two of which have not been completed. These studies--an international study organised by the World Health Organisation; the European transnational study of oral contraceptives, which is funded by the pharmaceutical company Schering AG; and a study of data from the United Kingdom general practice research database (formerly known as VAMP)--were designed to examine whether the risk of vascular disease in women taking the newer oral contraceptive pills differed from that in women taking the slightly older pills containing predominantly the progestogen levonorgestrel. …

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