Contraceptive pill safe for most women

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The Independent Online
Contraceptive pills do not increase the risk of heart attack in healthy women, according to a World Health Organisation study.

A team of researchers led by Professor Neil Poulter, of University College London, said heart attacks were "extremely rare" in women under 35 who did not smoke and used oral contraceptives. They added in a paper published in the Lancet: "The risk is likely to be even lower if blood pressure is screened before, and presumably during, oral contraceptive use."

However, the team found that use of the pill did slightly increase the risk of heart attack among women with known risk factors, like smoking and being overweight. It also caused a small increase in risk among those who had not been effectively screened before the pills were prescribed, particularly for blood pressure.

The study collected information on 368 women aged 20 to 44 who had heart attacks from 21 research centres in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

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