Study allays concerns over gallstones and OCP

WOMEN can be reassured that they are unlikely to be at increased risk of gallbladder disease from their oral contraceptives, researchers suggest.

Analysis of a large cohort of women from a US health insurance database found a statistically significant, but small, increase in the risk of cholecystectomy associated with drospirenone, desogestrel and norethindrone compared with levonorgestrel.

Media reports have linked the fourth-generation progestin drospirenone with gallbladder disease, but the scientific evidence on the risk has been confined to isolated adverse drug event reports.

In the current study researchers examined records of 2.7 million women using oral contraceptives, of whom 27,000 underwent surgical or laparoscopic cholecystectomy. 

The adjusted risk ratios for gallbladder disease compared to the second-generation progestin levonorgestrel were desogestrel 1.05, norethindrone 1.10 and drospirenone 1.20, with no