The Truth about Oral Contraceptives and Venous Thromboembolism

Lee P Shulman*, Joseph W. Goldzieher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In the last decade, the contribution of the progestin component of oral contraceptives (OCs) to the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) has come under scrutiny. The publication of 4 papers in late 1995 and early 1996 led to many women discontinuing OCs containing desogestrel and gastodene, the so-called third-generation OCs. This "pill scare" was the result of study findings that the third-generation OCs were associated with a higher risk of VTE than were OCs containing older progestins, primarily levonorgestrel. Subsequent studies and reanalyses of the original studies have not provided a definitive answer to this continuing debate. More recently, a question was raised about a possible increase in the risk of VTE associated with the use of an OC containing the novel progestin drospirenone. However, the information to date does not support any increase in the risk of VTE with use of the drospirenone-containing OC s compared with any other combination OC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)930-938
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number11 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


  • Contraceptives, oral
  • Thromboembolism
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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