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Weight Has Little Impact on Efficacy of Oral Contraception

Last Updated: September 10, 2009.

The effectiveness of oral contraception is unaffected by weight or body mass index, and failure rates decline with age and duration of use, according to a study of European users published in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

THURSDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The effectiveness of oral contraception is unaffected by weight or body mass index, and failure rates decline with age and duration of use, according to a study of European users published in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Jürgen C. Dinger, M.D., of the ZEG-Center for Epidemiology and Health Research in Berlin, and colleagues analyzed data from the European Active Surveillance Study on Oral Contraceptives on 59,510 users of oral contraception. The researchers looked at how effective the contraceptive method was overall and by a range of factors, including subjects' body mass index, weight, age, dose, type of regimen, duration of use and parity. They also confirmed by interview the 545 self-reported unplanned pregnancies.

The data covered 112,659 women-years of exposure to oral contraceptives and revealed that weight and body mass index had little impact on effectiveness, the investigators note. Women over the age of 30 years had lower rates of contraceptive failure, and increased duration of use was also associated with a drop in oral contraceptive failure.

"In contrast with the outcomes of some studies, we found that overweight and obese women who used oral contraceptives were not at an increased risk of contraceptive failure," the authors write. "Body mass index and absolute weight had little, if any, influence on the contraceptive effectiveness of oral contraceptives that contained drospirenone, dienogest, desogestrel, and levonorgestrel."

The study was funded by Bayer Schering Pharma AG.

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