The risks of venous thromboembolic disease among German women using oral contraceptives: a database study

R D Farmer, J C Todd, M A Lewis, K D MacRae, T J Williams
Contraception 1998, 57 (2): 67-70
This study investigated the risk of venous thromboembolic disease (VTE) between second and third generation combined oral contraceptives, using the German MediPlus database of patient records. Women studied included 42 patients between the ages of 18 and 49 years, with a diagnosis of VTE treated with an anticoagulant, who were exposed to an oral contraceptive (OC). Four controls per patient (168), matched by year of birth and exposure to an OC on the even day, were identified. More women were users of second generation than third generation OC, and none were using progestogen-only pills. There was no significant difference between patients and control subjects with respect to the type of OC used on the event day (unadjusted odds ratio for third versus second generation users was 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.38-1.57). There was no significant age difference between second and third generation users among patients or control subjects. Between January 1 and the event date, there was no significant difference between the patients and control subjects in terms of the number of oral contraceptive prescriptions, number of consultations for psychotherapeutic complaints, or mixed physical and psychotherapeutic consultations; however, patients did demonstrate significantly more consultations for purely physical complaints compared with control subjects (p < 0.0001). There were no significant consultation differences between patients with pulmonary emboli (n = 6) and other VTE patients (n = 36). No significant differences with respect to VTE risk between users of second and third generation oral contraceptives were found in this study. Consultations (physical) for patients were higher than for control subjects before the VTE event. If consultation rate relates to the general health status of a person, this might indicate that VTE risk is higher among women of poorer health, but that this is not related to the type of progestogen in the oral contraceptive that they use.

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