Health: Stroke risk to women on Pill

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The Independent Online
Women on the Pill are three to four times more likely to suffer a stroke than those not taking an oral contraceptive, a new study shows today. But the overall risk is minute. About eight women in 100,000 aged between 16 and 44 can expect to suffer a stroke, and of these just three might be linked to the Pill. High-dose "first generation" oestrogen Pills carried a higher risk than newer, lower-dose pills.

Women taking first generation Pills were, on average, 4.4 times more likely to have a stroke than women not using an oral contraceptive. A 3.4-fold and 3.9-fold increased risk was seen for second and third generation pills. The results are published in the British Medical Journal today.

Professor Lothar Heinemann, from the ZEG Centre for Epidemiology and Health Research in Berlin, wrote: "This risk could be controlled by avoiding prescription of the Pill in women who have important cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure."