Current use of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives or hormone therapy and risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization: a population-based cohort study

Am J Epidemiol. 2024 May 16:kwae066. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwae066. Online ahead of print.


This population-based cohort study evaluated the association between current use of oral contraceptives (OC) among women under 50 years (n=306,541), and hormone therapy (HT) among women aged 50 or older (n=323,203), and COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. Current OC/HT use was recorded monthly using prescription dispensing data. COVID-19 infections were identified March 2020-February 2021. COVID-19 infection and hospitalization were identified through diagnosis codes and laboratory tests. Weighted generalized estimating equations models estimated multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for COVID-19 infection associated with time-varying OC/HT use. Among women with COVID-19, logistic regression models evaluated OC/HT use and COVID-19 hospitalization. Over 12 months, 11,727 (3.8%) women <50 years and 8,661 (2.7%) women ≥50 years experienced COVID-19 infections. There was no evidence of an association between OC use and infection (aOR=1.05; 95%CI: 0.97, 1.12). There was a modest association between HT use and infection (aOR=1.19; 95%CI: 1.03, 1.38). Women using OC had a 39% lower risk of hospitalization (aOR=0.61; 95%CI: 0.38, 1.00), but there was no association of HT use with hospitalization (aOR=0.89; 95%CI: 0.51, 1.53). These findings do not suggest a meaningfully greater risk of COVID-19 infection associated with OC or HT use. OC use may be associated with lower COVID-19 hospitalization risk.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; hormone therapy; hormones; oral contraceptives; population-based cohort study.