Risks Associated With Oral Contraceptives For Black Women

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Black women taking low-dose oral contraceptives have a risk of side effects that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, NIH researcher Anne Summer and colleagues examined 104 healthy black women who did not have diabetes. Twenty-one of the women were taking oral contraceptives and 83 were not.

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Researchers found that compared with the other participants, the women taking oral contraceptives had higher glucose levels after fasting for two hours and higher fasting triglyceride levels. They also were more insulin-resistant. In an analysis based on weight, researchers found that women taking oral contraceptives who were not considered obese were more insulin resistant and were more likely to be glucose intolerant.

According to the study, "Compared with white women, African-American women are more insulin resistant, have a higher prevalence of glucose intolerance and paradoxically lower triglyceride levels. Therefore, the metabolic effects of oral contraceptive pill observed in white women cannot be extrapolated to African-American women."

Researchers concluded, "Assessing the risks and benefits of oral contraceptive pill use is complex and requires careful consideration" in black women (Reuters Health, 6/30).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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