Women are at greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis if they take the pill, according to a new joint study the United States and Argentina.
Rates of incurable degenerative disease are already higher among women than men, but researchers at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California and Raul Carrera Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires believe those the pill are at the greatest risk.
Women who are overweight were also identified it has a greater chance of contracting the disease, perhaps because they produce higher levels of a hormone that regulates appetite.
The study, which was presented to delegates at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Philadelphia, is in stark contrast to previous research suggesting that the pill could actually reduce risk.
Some 305 women with MS were evaluated as part of the study. Over a period of three years, the use of the pill compared with more than 3,000 people without the disease.
29 percent of people with MS was found to be taken contraceptives for at least three months before identifying their symptoms.
The principal investigator, Dr. Kerstin Hellwig, said: “These results suggest that the use of hormonal contraceptives may be contributing at least in part to the increased rate of MS among women
“Do not say that causes MS, but adjusting for other factors more women use the pill who develop MS.”
he added that some environmental factors may also play a role in this stage so it would not be right to tell women to stop using the pill.
MS affects about 100,000 people in the UK, with around 50 young people who are diagnosed every week.
said a recent study conducted by researchers in Scotland found that the number of people being diagnosed was reduced by an average of three percent per year between 1990 and 2010.
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