Combined hormonal contraceptives: risk of venous thromboembolism

Non-hormonal or progestogen-only contraception should be considered in some situations.

Article date: March 2014

The February 2014 edition of Drug Safety Update included an article about combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) and risk of venous thromboembolism. This article refers to a letter that was sent to healthcare professionals through the Central Alerting System on Jan 22, 2014. Annexes 2–4 of the letter advise what contraception a woman should use instead of CHCs in the event of: major surgery; a period of prolonged immobilisation; or if she smokes and is older than 35 years.

The annexes recommend that a non-hormonal form of contraception should be used in these situations; however, they ought to have stated that a different form of contraception should be used. This clarified advice allows for use of progestogen-only contraception or non-hormonal contraception. Correct information is provided on the MHRA website.

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