The Pill Effective in Overweight Women

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Oral contraceptives work well in overweight and obese women, refuting a long-held view the pill may not be reliable for the overweight, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Dr. Carolyn Westhoff, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an obstetrician/gynecologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, says the study involved 226 women ages 18-35 who were of normal weight or were overweight, who were randomly assigned to take either a lower- or higher-dose version of the pill.


Westhoff and colleagues say they purposely used the different dose levels to assess whether heavier women required higher dosing, as has been previously believed.

After three or four months of using the oral contraceptives — the time it usually takes for a woman’s body to acclimate to the pill — the women had multiple ultrasounds and blood tests to determine if ovulation was being suppressed.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds of the 150 women who used the pill consistently, three of the 96 women with normal weight ovulated, as did one of the 54 women with obesity.

“As a physician, I am relieved by the results of this study,” Westhoff says in a statement. “When I prescribe oral contraceptives to my patients with obesity, I can feel confident that I am giving them something that will work.”

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