Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Drug Safety Update - February 2014

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update for February 2014 (PDF).

This issue contains drug safety advice informing clinicians of the results of a recent review of the association between combined oral contraceptives and the risk of venous thromboembolism. The review confirms that the risk of venous thromboembolism with all low-dose COCs (ethinylestradiol <50 micrograms) remains small and products with the lowest risk of VTE are those containing the progestogens levonorgestrel, norethisterone and norgestimate.

The review concludes that the benefits of treatment far outweigh the risk of serious side effects but recommends that prescribers and women using COCs should be aware of the major risk factors for thromboembolism and remain vigilant for the key signs and symptoms.

Action: Clinicians will find this publication to be a useful review of current issues in drug safety.

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