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A report from USA Today claims that a new study has suggested a link between birth control pills and increased risk of artery clogging plaque. The study of just over 1300 women suggest that the likelihood of finding plaques in key arteries is increased between 20 and 30 percent when taking birth control pills. This risk is thought to increase over time.

The study also ties this risk to women who have discontinued use on oral contraception, but were consistent users for years. Over 12 million American women take birth control pills each day. It is the world’s most popular contraceptive choice.

Despite the widespread use of the pill, researchers have never linked it with heart attacks or strokes, though it’s well known to increase blood pressure and raise a woman’s risk of getting blood clots. Many of the women in the study used pills with higher doses of estrogen than are used today. “We don’t know whether effects will be the same for women taking the pill today,” Rietzschel says, adding, “There’s no reason to stop taking the pill abruptly; the study needs to be replicated.”

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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