The birth control pills now on the market do not appear to increase the risk of stroke, according to a study in the July 4 New England Journal of Medicine. The pill was linked to strokes in the 1960s and '70s, when it contained considerably more estrogen than now. The study, conducted by Dr. Diana B. Petitti and colleagues from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, looked at the current low-estrogen varieties.
The researchers identified 408 strokes among 1.1 million young women enrolled in the health plan from 1991 through 1994--about 11 strokes per 100,000 women per year. They studied 295 of the stroke victims and found no evidence that the pill significantly increased the women's already low risk of stroke.