Third generation oral contraceptive pills include Femodene, Femodene ED, Marvelon, Mercilon, Minulet, Triadene and Tri-Minulet. They have a slightly different combination of hormones than earlier (second generation) brands.
Research in 1995 suggested that there may be an increased risk of
blood clots (venous thrombosis) for users of the third generation pill. The Committee for Safety of Medicines (CSM) recommended that third generation oral contraceptive pills should not be taken by women who were known to be at risk of venous thrombosis. Also, they should only be prescribed to women who had been advised of the risks and for whom other combined contraceptive pills were unsuitable.
However, the Medicines Commission later reviewed the data and found that the increased incidence of venous thrombosis was equivalent to an additional 10 women in every 10,000 per year of use, compared to those on second generation contraceptives. This risk of thrombosis is much smaller than that associated with pregnancy.
Subsequently, the current advice states that there is no need to stop taking your pills, unless you are at risk of venous thrombosis. For most women, the benefits of taking the combined contraceptive pill far outweigh any risk. However, if you are at all concerned, please consult your doctor or local family planning clinic for advice.
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