Hormonal contraceptives up diabetes risk in obese women
Washington: Healthy, obese women who use certain hormonal contraception may have a slightly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who use non-hormonal contraception, a new US study has found.
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) found that healthy, obese, reproductive-age women who use long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) containing the hormone progestin have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The research found that progestin-releasing LARC appears to be safe for use but needs further investigation.
"Contraceptive studies often only look at normal-weight women," said Penina Segall-Gutierrez, co-investigator of the study.
"Studies such as this are necessary because, today, one-third of women in the US are overweight and one-third are obese. All women, including overweight and obese women, need to have access to safe and effective contraception," Segall-Gutierrez said in a statement.
The six-month study observed the metabolic markers in three groups of obese women: a control group using non-hormonal birth control methods, including condoms, the copper IUD, and female or male sterilisation; a second group with a progestin-releasing LARC device implanted in the uterus (IUD); and a third group with a progestin-releasing LARC device implanted under the skin.
"All three methods were found to be safe and effective, and they did not create changes in blood pressure, weight, or cholesterol," Segall-Gutierrez said.
"However, there was a 10 per cent increase in fasting blood-glucose levels among the skin implant users, compared to a 5 per cent increase among the IUD users and a 2 per cent decrease among those using non-hormonal methods," she said.
"The effects on sensitivity to insulin showed a similar trend. It is unknown if these effects would continue if the devices were used and studied for a longer period of time," Segall-Gutierrez added.
"Overall, we're finding that methods such as the progestin injection and the progestin skin implant, which both have higher circulating progestin, may have an increased risk for metabolic changes compared to methods like the IUD, which only has a local effect in the uterus," she said.
The study was published in the journal Contraception.