American journal of obstetrics and gynecology

Effects on hemostatic variables of desogestrel- and gestodene-containing oral contraceptives in comparison with levonorgestrel-containing oral contraceptives: a review.

PMID 9753311


In some studies third-generation oral contraceptives have been reported to be associated with a higher risk of venous thromboembolism than are second-generation oral contraceptives, whereas recent, more refined studies have not confirmed this. The reasons for the alleged differences are under discussion, and differential effects on hemostasis have been proposed. Eighteen studies comparing second- and third-generation oral contraceptives with respect to their effects on hemostasis were analyzed. Significant changes from baseline were reported for many variables with both second- and third-generation oral contraceptives without significant between-group differences. Also, in a combined analysis of nonsignificant changes, no consistent pattern of change emerged for any marker, with the exception of higher factor VII levels associated with third-generation oral contraceptives. However, factor VII is not related to venous thromboembolism risk. In addition, 1 cross-sectional study with an unvalidated assay reported a higher ratio of activated protein C sensitivity with third-generation oral contraceptives. Only 2 components of the hemostatic system (factor VII and activated protein C sensitivity ratio) emerged as potentially differentially affected by second- and third-generation oral contraceptives; the association with venous thromboembolism risk is questionable in the former case and unknown in the latter.