Mini-Pill Increases Risk Of Chronic Diabetes In Women With History Of Diabetes During Pregnancy

USC Researchers Urge Caution In Prescribing Progestin-Only Oral Contraceptives For High-Risk Women

LOS ANGELES, August 12, 1998 -- Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy face an increased risk of later developing type-2 diabetes. Now, USC researchers say that using the mini-pill -- progestin-only birth control pills -- may put these women at an even higher risk of developing the chronic form of the disease.

"It appears that progestin-only oral contraceptives increase risk by nearly three-fold and should not be widely prescribed in this group of women," says Siri Kjos, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

That caution, however, is tempered by good news, Kjos (pronounced KEY-hos) says. "The most important finding is that low-dose combination oral contraceptives appear to be a relatively safe method of contraception for these very high-risk women." The combination birth control pills are the most commonly used ones and contain a mix of estrogen and progestin.

Kjos and colleagues report their results in the August 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the study, USC researchers followed 904 Latina women who had developed gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during a recent pregnancy, but whose ability to process sugars had returned to normal after delivery.

During their initial post-partum visits to the High Risk Family Planning Clinic at LAC+USC Women's and Children's Hospital, about half chose to use hormonal oral contraceptives and half chose a non-hormonal contraceptives. Of the women opting to take birth control pills, 383 were prescribed low-dose combination birth control pills and the 78 women who were breast-feeding received the progestin-only contraceptives.

For women who wish to breast-feed and take hormonal contraceptives, doctors usually prescribe progestin-only oral contraceptives becau

Contact: Eva Emerson
(323) 442-2830
University of Southern California

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