(Mortality associated with oral contraceptive use: 25 year follow up of cohort of 46,000 women from Royal College of General Practitioners' oral contraception study)
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More than 300 million women throughout the world have used oral contraceptives since their inception in 1959. Although the short term effects of the pill are well documented, less is known about the long term effects. In this week's BMJ, Professor Valerie Beral and colleagues from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Royal College of General Practitioners report the results of a 25 year follow up of 46,000 women in the Royal College of General Practitioners' oral contraceptive study.
They found that women who had stopped using the pill for ten or more years incurred no more health risks than women who had never used the pill. They conclude that the small risks of using oral contraceptives are relevant only while they are being used and in the ten years after use ceases. After this time period there is little evidence to suggest any persistent adverse effects.
Geoff Watts or Bryher Golding-Barrett at Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Communications Department
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