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Contraceptive Watch: The Pill

The use of “The Pill” has been linked to anywhere from a 1.5 to over 3-fold increased risk of contracting lupus, according to a new study funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

In a study with the stated objective: “to assess whether the risk of incident systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with the use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs),” the researchers looked at the data from the UK’s General Practice Research Database.

They found that women currently taking the Pill were 1.5 times more likely to contract SLE, and were 2.5 times more likely to contract SLE in the first three months of using the Pill. A high dose (50 micrograms) of ethinyl estradiol brought that risk up to almost three times the risk of that of the control group.

Their conclusion? “The use of COCs is associated with an increased risk of SLE. This risk is particularly elevated in women who recently started contraceptive use, suggesting an acute effect in a small subgroup of susceptible women.”

See the Source: Mrie-odile Bernier, Yann Mikaeloff, Marie Hudson, Samy Suissa, “Combined oral contraceptive use and the risk of systemic lupus erythematous” Arthritis Care & Research, Vol 61/No 4, pp 476–481,

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