Cardiovascular risk profiles of oral contraceptive users and nonusers: A population-based study

Patricia M. Flint, University of Rhode Island
Kate L. Lapane, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Marilyn M. Barbour, University of Rhode Island
Carol A. Derby, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Richard A. Carleton, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Anne L. Hume, University of Rhode Island


Background. The purpose of this population-based study was to evaluate whether women taking oral contraceptive products (OCPs) have more favorable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profiles than women not taking OCPs. Methods. Data including sociodemographic variables and CVD risk factors from 5,239 women of reproductive age were gathered in six cross-sectional household surveys. Differences in CVD risk factor profiles between OCP users and nonusers were compared using logistic regression. Younger users and older users were compared with nonusers of the same age groups. Results. Women using OCPs (n = 807) were younger and had higher socioeconomic status than nonusers (n = 4,432). More users than nonusers were current smokers (43.1% vs 36.6%, P = 0.0011), had a total serum cholesterol level ≥ 240 mg/dl (12.7% vs 6.0%, P = 0.0001), and tended to rate themselves to be at low risk for CVD (48.3% vs 45.5%, P = 0.17). Fewer OCP users than nonusers had an HDL cholesterol level ≤ 35 mg/dl (4.0% vs 6.9%, P = 0.0039). Conclusions. Although they tended to perceive themselves to be at low risk, women taking OCPs in this study had worse CVD risk profiles than women not reporting hormonal contraception and are candidates for cardiovascular risk reduction strategies. © 1995 Academic Press. All rights reserved.