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Birth control pills 'carry increased stroke risk'

Birth control pills 'carry increased stroke risk'
28th October 2009

The use of oral contraceptives for women has been associated with an increased likelihood of having a stroke.

According to a new review article in MedLink Neurology by three neurologists from the Loyola University Health System, it was found that the risk nearly doubles when using birth control pills.

Scientists studied 100,000 women of childbearing age who did not use such medication, discovering that there were around 4.4 ischemic strokes, while oral contraceptives increased the risk 1.9 times to 8.5 strokes per 100,000 women.

Senior author Dr Jose Biller said that when prescribing such medication, doctors should ensure they balance the benefits and risks which the patient may encounter when using them.

He continued: "For a healthy young woman without any other stroke risk factors, the benefits of birth control pills probably outweigh the risks. But if a woman has other stroke risk factors, she should be discouraged from using oral contraceptives."

This week, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada reported it found that many children, by the age of 15, have one or more major risk factors for stroke.

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