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Pill "does not harm insulin levels"

Using oral or injectable contraception does not have an adverse effect on blood glucose and insulin levels, according to a new study.

Research shows that in women who do not suffer from diabetes, there is only a minor increase in blood glucose levels when using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) - commonly known as the birth control shot.

There is a steady increase among DMPA users during the first 30 months, with the greatest increase occurring during the first six months.

Dr Abbey Berenson, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health, said: "Further studies are needed to determine how women with diabetes are affected by DMPA and oral contraception, but these results are reassuring for non-diabetic women already receiving the shot or on the Pill."

She said that together with previous studies showing the effect of contraception on weight gain and bone density loss, the new research would "help dispel myths surrounding birth control and shed light on side-effects that had been anecdotally reported but not yet proven".

"Physicians can now better explain the risks and benefits of various birth control methods and take appropriate action to protect patients' long-term health, which may include switching to another contraception method."

The study has been published in the January 2011 issue of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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Obstetrics and Gynaecology