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Birth control pill equally effective for women regardless of their weight
Date:8/16/2010

researchers purposely used the different dose levels to assess whether heavier women required higher dosing, as has been previously believed.

After three or four months of using the oral contraceptives -- the time it usually takes for a woman's body to acclimate to the pill -- the women had multiple ultrasounds and blood tests to determine if ovulation was being suppressed. The goal of oral contraception is to suppress ovulation.

Of the 150 women who used the pill consistently, three of the 96 women with normal weight ovulated, as did one of the 54 women with obesity. The researchers also found that when women were not taking the pill regularly, they ovulated with greater frequency.

"Our findings strengthen the message to patients that the pill will only work if it is taken every day. Weight does not seem to have an impact on suppression of ovulation, but consistency of pill-taking does," Dr. Westhoff says.

Importantly, the lower-dose pill seemed to be as effective as the higher-dose pill in suppressing ovulation in women with obesity. This is a crucial finding because women with obesity are at greater risk for developing blood clots from taking either type of pill, although the overall risk is small.

"Knowing that the lower dose works as well as the higher dose will allow physicians to not only help women with obesity avoid unwanted pregnancies, but also protect them from the possible health risks associated with higher doses," Dr. Westhoff says.

"For a woman to fear relying on her oral contraceptive to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is a huge burden. This study should put those fears to rest," Dr. Westhoff says.


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Contact: Belinda Mager
pr@nyp.org
212-305-5587
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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