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France may curb use of riskier oral contraceptives

Published on Jan 3, 2013 10:07 PM

PARIS (REUTERS) - French health regulators are studying limiting the use of contraceptive pills that carry health risks and will stop reimbursing prescription costs of some types from March, after a woman sued drugmaker Bayer over alleged side-effects.

An inquiry launched this week by the ANSM health regulator will review prescription practices by doctors, whom it says may be over-prescribing higher-risk third and fourth-generation pills.

While all oral contraceptives are associated with a risk of blood clots, a number of studies suggest the most recent brands, known as third and fourth-generation pills, carry a higher risk than their predecessors.

The European Medicines Agency says the risk of an embolism, or blood clot, is twice as high for women using third and fourth-generation pills than for those using earlier versions, although it remains low. The risk of a stroke is the same.

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