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Study explains potential failure of oral contraceptives with obese women
Date:7/14/2009

a common measure of obesity.

According to Dr. Alison Edelman, lead author of the study and assistant director of the Family Planning Fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University, the participants in this study were purposely selected for obesity in order to explore this issue. But several demographic studies have shown that even women just considered "overweight," with a body mass index of 25-30, may also be at increased risk of contraceptive failure.

"Although our research has found this interaction between obese women and oral contraceptives, we don't have enough information yet to recommend changes in clinical practice, other than choosing a contraceptive option that works better for both normal weight and obese women, like an intrauterine device," Edelman said.

For future work, she said, studies of contraception would be more useful if they included participants that reflect the general population, including women with different body mass indexes. The biological underpinnings of how oral contraceptives work, their effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, has only been studied in women of normal weight, the researchers noted in their study.

At present, Cherala said, there is no readily available test that would tell a woman how long it would take for her to reach an effective concentration level of a particular contraceptive, and this does vary with the individual. However, scientists are continuing research on that issue, and they may ultimately develop tests or methods that would improve drug efficacy for women who wish to use oral contraceptives.


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Contact: Ganesh Cherala
cherala@ohsu.edu
503-418-0447
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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