What’s a “third-generation” oral contraceptive? Basically,
it’s the latest form of the birth control pill, containing
a combination of the hormones
desogestrel or gestodene and small doses of estrogen. Earlier
forms of the pill, specifically “second-generation” oral contraceptives,
contain different hormones (levonorgestrel and low-dose estrogen)
in different amounts.
The distinction between second and third-generation oral
contraceptives is important because previous research (three
studies in 1995) links the latter form of the pill to increased
risk for blood clots. A more recent study in the British
Medical Journal, involving more than 361,000 women monitored
from 1993-1999, supports this notion. The study noted approximately
double the risk in women taking third-generation contraceptives
vs. women taking second-generation contraceptives. These results
were maintained after considering other potential causes of
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of oral contraception
and other forms of birth control. For more information on
women’s health issues, visit http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/women.html.
Jick H, Kaye JA, Vasilakis-Scaramozza C, et al. Risk of venous
thromboembolism among users of third-generation oral contraceptives
compared with users of oral contraceptives with levonorgestrel
before and after 1995: cohort and case-control analysis. British
Medical Journal, Nov. 11, 2000: Vol. 321, pp1190-95.