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Are factor V Leiden carriers who use oral contraceptives at extreme risk for venous thromboembolism?

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Ludwig-Maximilian University, Department of Hemostasiology, City Center Clinic, Medical Hospital, Munich, Germany.



Major concern was raised by an earlier study regarding oral contraceptive use in women with the factor V Leiden mutation. A more than 30-fold increase in relative risk for venous thromboembolism was reported; for homozygotes, the relative risk was as much as 100-fold or more.


To replicate the reported risk estimates with a new population-based case-control study.


Eighty women with a diagnosis of venous thromboembolism were consecutively identified and compared with population-based controls (n = 406). Factor V Leiden mutation was identified by genotype analysis. The evaluation was performed with conditional logistic regression (matched for 5-year age group).


Matched, adjusted odds ratios (OR) for idiopathic venous thromboembolism in women without and with the factor V Leiden mutation who used oral contraceptives were 4.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-7.8) and 10.2 (95% CI 1.2-88.4), respectively. The adjusted OR for factor V Leiden carriers was 2.0 (95% CI 1.0-4.4). The OR for women with the factor V Leiden mutation and oral contraceptive use versus no factor V Leiden mutation and no oral contraceptive use was 10.2 (95% CI 3.8-27.6).


The results confirm the increased relative risk of idiopathic venous thromboembolism for users of oral contraceptives and factor V Leiden carriers. However, we suspect that the true risk for women who are factor V Leiden carriers may be increased two- to four-fold rather than seven-fold or more, and that the risk for the combination of factor V Leiden and oral contraceptive use may be increased in the order often- to 15-fold rather than over 30-fold.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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