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Contraceptives Linked to Higher Glucose, Insulin Levels

Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, but not oral contraceptives, tied to slightly higher levels

TUESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate appears to be associated with slightly higher levels of fasting glucose and insulin, according to a study in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Abbey B. Berenson, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues measured fasting glucose and insulin levels -- at baseline and every six months for three years -- in 703 white, African-American, and Hispanic women who were taking depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, oral contraceptive pills, or nonhormonal birth control.

Compared to nonhormonal users, the investigators found that depot medroxyprogesterone acetate users, but not oral contraceptive pill users, experienced slightly greater increases in glucose and insulin. During the first 30 months, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate users experienced a small but steady increase in serum glucose levels, which then leveled off. However, serum insulin levels showed an upward trend for the first 18 months of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate use and then remained relatively stable. Compared to normal-weight depot medroxyprogesterone acetate users, those who were overweight or obese showed slightly higher increases in insulin and glucose levels.

"Overall, we conclude that women receiving depot medroxyprogesterone acetate may experience mild increases in fasting insulin and glucose levels, which are probably not clinically meaningful, and those receiving very-low-dose oral contraceptives with desogestrel will not experience any change in fasting levels. Thus, data from this longitudinal study are reassuring overall regarding the effects of these two contraceptives on insulin-glucose metabolism," the authors write.

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