How to Evaluate the Risks of Contraceptives

For individuals with certain medical conditions, specific types of birth control can pose a health risk.
To be safe, follow these guidelines

High blood pressure (180/110 mmHg or higher)

Avoid birth control pills or injections containing estrogen, which may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Episodes of depression

Avoid products that contain progestin, such as Depo-Provera, contraceptive implants, and the mini-pill. In some women with depression, progestin may worsen depressive symptoms. Also, check with your doctor if you are taking an antidepressant medication; it may affect or be affected by oral contraceptives and may require a different dose.

Seizure disorder

Avoid low-dose birth control pills. Some anti-seizure medications, such as Dilantin, accelerate the liver metabolism of all substances, including oral contraceptives, and make them less effective.

Ectopic pregnancy

Avoid IUDs. Although IUDs do not cause ectopic pregnancies, if your fallopian tubes have been scarred by a previous ectopic gestation, you’re more likely to have another ectopic if you use an IUD.


Avoid birth control pills or injections containing estrogen, which is metabolized in the liver—an organ damaged by hepatitis.
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