Sunday, June 19, 2005

Teens, the Pill, the Shot, and Cardiovascular Risk

Interesting finding about the beneficial effect of hormonal birth control (the Pill, and the shot) on carotid artery intima-media thickness in teen users:

Hormonal contraception does not appear to affect cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents, Jennifer G. Kapella, M.D., said at the annual meeting of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

In a study that enrolled 50 adolescent subjects just starting on oral contraception, 22 subjects starting depot medroxyprogesterone acetate [Depo-Provera], and 53 control subjects, hormonal contraception had no effect on cholesterol levels, and may have had a slightly beneficial effect on carotid artery intima-media thickness over a period of 18 months, said Dr. Kapella of the department of pediatrics at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

There was a slight decrease over the 18 months in intima-media thickness in the control subjects, and a greater decrease in the subjects on either form of hormonal contraception. There was no difference in the decrease between the types of contraception used in the study.


Overall, the study found a mean 2% drop in thickness at 12 months and a mean 6% drop at 18 months, equal to about 0.02 mm.

Previous studies of intima-media thickness in adolescent girls have found no change over time, while in adolescent boys there appears to be a progression in thickness over time, Dr. Kapella said.

By way of comparison, a 0.02-mm decrease in intima-media thickness is what is seen in statin trials of similar duration, she added.


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