By Matthew Hoffman

May 7, 2008 ( – A new study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has revealed that the newest version of the contraceptive pill increases the risk of heart disease.

The study, which was conducted by the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies at the University of Udine, in Italy, concludes that the new, “third-generation” oral contraceptives elevates the levels of “C-reactive protein” (CRP) in women, which in turn raises their risk of cardiovascular disease.

In comparing healthy women who used the pill with a group that didn’t, the study found that pill-users were more than four times more likely to have high levels of CRP in their bodies, “posing a high risk of cardiovascular disease”. Pill-users were also 3.9 times more likely to have levels of CRP posing an “intermediate risk” for heart disease.

Elevated CRP levels are associated with a condition known as “low grade inflammation” which, the study’s abstract says, “could affect the risk of venous thromboembolism, cardiovascular disease, and other oral contraceptive-associated adverse conditions in young women.” “Venus thromboembolism” is the medical term for blood clots, a problem that has long been associated with oral contraceptives.

The study also found that pill-users were more likely to have elevated “bad” cholesterol levels (high density lipoprotein) relative to “good” cholesterol (low level lipoprotein), another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Dr. John Shea, medical advisor to Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition noted that, ironically, “third generation oral contraceptives were first introduced in 1994 in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease”.

“Third generation oral contraceptive use increases low-grade inflammatory status which could increase the risk of arteriosclerosis that could, in turn, increase the risk of arterial or venous blood clots, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, liver cancer, and non cancerous liver tumours and an increased risk of bone loss,” Shea told

“It should be noted that the use of ordinary oral contraceptives is associated with a four-fold increased risk of blood clots and that the use of third generation oral contraceptives increases that risk by a factor of 1.5. All oral contraceptive use is also associated with increased risk of breast cancer and cancer of the cervix of the uterus.”

The study matches the results of another study published in April, which found that oral contraceptive use was associated with “hardening” of the arteries due to plaque buildup (see coverage at