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Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Feb;27(1):67-76. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Diabetes and oral contraception.

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Service de Diab├ętologie, Maladies M├ętaboliques et Nutrition, CHU de Toulouse, France.


The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is increasing dramatically worldwide, resulting in more and more women of reproductive age being affected by either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Management of contraception is a major issue due to the specific risks associated with pregnancy and those potentially induced by hormonal contraceptives in diabetic women. This review emphasizes the urgent need to improve the use of contraception in women with diabetes. There is no consistent evidence that combined oral contraceptives significantly influence the risk of developing diabetes, even in women with a history of gestational diabetes. Furthermore, although data from specific studies remain sparse, no worsening effect has been reported in diabetic women, either in glycemic control or on the course of microvascular complications. Thus, the use of estroprogestive pills is now recognized as a safe and effective option for preconception care of women with uncomplicated diabetes. According to recent guidelines, these contraceptives must be avoided in case of associated cardiovascular risk factors, cardiovascular disease or severe microvascular complications such as nephropathy with proteinuria or active proliferative retinopathy. Prescription of combined hormonal contraception in type 2 diabetic women must also be considered with caution due to a frequent association with obesity and vascular risk factors which increase both thromboembolic and arterial risks. Thanks to their metabolic and vascular safety profile, progestin-only contraceptives, as well as non-hormonal methods, represent alternatives according to patient wishes.

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