Study finds that taking the pill may have one big side-effect 5 years ago

Study finds that taking the pill may have one big side-effect

New research has found that women who take the pill are more likely to be later treated for depression.

There has long been argument that oral contraceptives like the pill can affect moods and emotional responsiveness, so researchers in Denmark did a huge survey, covering 13 years of available health information, to study the issue.

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Scientists studied one million women and adolescent girls, aged 15 - 34, and found that those on the pill were 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor, usually in the first six months after starting the contraceptive treatment.

Those on progestin-only pills (such as Femulen) were 34% more likely to take antidepressants or get a first diagnosis of depression.

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The study also found that teenage girls were most at risk: those on combined pills were 80% more likely, and those on progestin-only pills more than twice as likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than their non-pill-taking peers.

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Researchers also found that women with "implants, patches and intrauterine devices" were also affected in the same way.

The authors of the study have called for more research into this potential side-effect of the pill, but other experts have advised women not to panic.

Dr Channa Jayasena, a clinical senior lecturer in reproductive endocrinology at Imperial College London, told 'The Guardian':

“This study raises important questions about the pill...The study does not prove [and does not claim] that the pill plays any role in the development of depression. However, we know hormones play a hugely important role in regulating human behaviour.

“Given the enormous size of this study, further work is needed to see if these results can be repeated in other populations, and to determine possible biological mechanisms which might underlie any possible link between the pill and depression. Until then, women should not be deterred from taking the pill.”

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Another doctor added: “Women should not be alarmed by this study as all women react differently to different methods of contraception. There are a variety of contraception methods on offer