THURSDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Some women using hormonal contraceptives other than birth control pills may have an increased risk for serious blood clots, Danish researchers report.
These alternate hormone-releasing birth control methods include skin patches, implants and vaginal rings. To reduce the risk, women who use these should consider switching to the pill, the researchers said.
Deep vein thrombosis is a kind of clot that typically originates in the legs and can travel to the lungs, where it becomes an often deadly pulmonary embolism. Both types of clots combined are called venous thrombosis, according to the study. Symptoms include leg pain, chest pain or sudden shortness of breath.
"The transdermal patch and vaginal ring confer at least a sixfold increased risk of venous thrombosis as combined pills with desogestrel or drospirenone, a risk which is about twice the risk among women using second-generation pills with levonorgestrel," said lead researcher Dr. Ojvind Lidegaard, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Copenhagen.
However, hormone-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs) do not increase the risk of venous thrombosis, he said.
"Women should be informed about these risks in order to be able to choose the most appropriate hormonal contraceptive product," Lidegaard said. "There are hormonal contraceptive alternatives which confer less or no risk of venous thrombosis."
Common implants include Implanon and the newer Nexplanon; Ortho Evra is the patch and the ring is NuvaRing. These products gradually release hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy.
Methods like the sponge (Today Sponge), which uses a spermicide rather than hormones, were not addressed in the study.
The findings were published May 10 in the online edition of the BMJ.
For the study, Lidegaard's team collected data on inciden
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