To compare the rate of arterial thromboembolism (ATE) of drospirenone-containing COCs to that of levonorgestrel-containing COCs.
DESIGN: Population-based cohort study.
United Kingdom’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which contains clinical records for >11 million patients.
Women aged 16-45 years prescribed a drospirenone- or levonorgestrel-containing COC between May 2002 and June 2012.
We conducted nested case-control analyses using risk set sampling to randomly select up to 10 controls for each ATE case, matched on age, cohort entry year, CPRD registration year, COC user type (first-time ever, new, switcher, or prevalent users), duration of COC use, duration of progestin-only or implantable contraceptive use, pre-cohort entry duration of drospirenone and levonorgestrel use, and duration of follow up.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
We used conditional logistic regression to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for high-dimensional propensity scores.
Our cohort included 339 743 women followed over a mean 4.4 years, during which 228 ATE cases occurred: 37 myocardial infarctions, 170 strokes, and 21 other ATEs; overall rate: 1.5 events per 10 000 person-years (PYs). After adjusting for potential confounders, the hazard ratio for ATE with current use of drospirenone-containing COCs versus current use of levonorgestrel-containing COCs was 0.89 (95% CI 0.35, 2.28), corresponding to a rate difference of -0.16 events per 10 000 PYs.
The overall rate of ATE in this population is low regardless of which COC was taken. We found little evidence of a difference in the rate of ATE with drospirenone- versus levonorgestrel-containing COCs.
Little evidence was found of a greater incidence of arterial thrombosis with drospirenone versus levonorgestrel contraceptives.
© 2016 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Arterial thromboembolism; drospirenone; drug safety; oral contraceptives