Effects of contraceptive steroids on cardiovascular risk factors in women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Aug;171(2):400-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(94)70041-9.


Objective: We evaluated established cardiovascular risk factors within lipoprotein metabolism, hemostasis, and endothelial function in women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus who were using oral contraceptives.

Study design: Twenty-five women with uncomplicated insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, allocated to treatment with a monophasic combination of 30 micrograms ethinyl estradiol and 75 micrograms gestodene (treatment group, n = 12) or with nonhormonal contraception (control group, n = 13), were prospectively followed up for 12 months. Nonparametric methods were used for statistical evaluation.

Results: No statistical differences in the biochemical risk markers were noted between the two groups at the start of the study. In the treatment group serum levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased, whereas the concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides were unchanged. Within the coagulation system factor VII coagulant activity increased, while fibrinogen levels were unchanged. In the fibrinolytic system we found unchanged activities but decreased antigen concentrations of tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor. The concentration of von Willebrand factor increased, but no change in albumin excretion rates were found. In the control group no changes in any of the variables were observed.

Conclusion: Intake of modern oral contraceptives does not deteriorate the cardiovascular risk profile in women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, but our study indicates a risk of disturbances of the endothelial integrity, which needs further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Plasminogen Inactivators / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Plasminogen Inactivators
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator