Objectives: End-stage liver failure is associated with extremely reduced fertility. After liver transplantation, restoration of menstrual function is observed; thus effective contraceptive methods should be employed in patients who do not plan to conceive. The aim of this study was to assess tolerability and safety of hormonal contraceptives in female liver transplant recipients.
Materials and methods: We retrospectively analyzed data on 15 female liver graft recipients, aged 24 to 35 years, who used hormonal contraceptives after liver transplantation for a time not shorter than 12 months. The period from grafting to administration of hormonal contraceptives varied from 6 months to 7 years. Biochemical parameters of liver function, fasting glucose levels, body mass index (BMI) as well as blood pressure were monitored at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months of therapy. Side effects of the treatment were noted on regular follow-up examinations.
Results: No case of pregnancy or graft rejection was observed on therapy. Changes of biochemical parameters were not significant (aspartate transferase 22.92 +/- 6.67 vs 25.54 +/- 7.90, alanine transferase 22.08 +/- 5.66 vs 24.27 +/- 7.57, total bilirubin 0.96 +/- 0.17 vs 1.02 +/- 0.15). Blood pressure and BMI remained stable in the group. None of the patients discontinued therapy for medical indications.
Conclusion: Hormonal contraception was administered as soon as liver transplant function was stable. It was effective, well tolerated, and did not seem to impair graft function. However, a long-term prospective study is necessary to assess the safety of hormonal contraception in transplant recipients.