Objective: To evaluate the effects of oral contraceptives (OCs) as a possible risk factor for early diabetic renal and/or retinal complications.
Design: A retrospective case-control study.
Setting: A university hospital diabetes clinic.
Participants: Forty-three diabetic women who used OCs for 1 year or longer (mean, 3.4 years; range, 1.0 to 7.0 years) were compared with a computer-matched control group of 43 diabetic women who never used OCs.
Main outcome measures: Hemoglobin A1c levels, albumin excretion rates, and mean retinopathy scores.
Results: The mean +/- SEM age and duration of diabetes were 22.7 +/- 0.5 years (range, 17.1 to 30.5 years) and 13.8 +/- 0.8 years, respectively, for the study group. The mean longitudinal hemoglobin A1c values were similar for study subjects and control subjects. The final mean albumin excretion rates, reflecting diabetic renal damage, and the mean eye grades were not significantly different between the groups.
Conclusions: The use of OCs among young women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus does not pose an additional risk for the development of early diabetic retinopathy and/or nephropathy.