Summary: Progestin-Only Contraceptives Increase Risk of Diabetes in Women

Studies show that the use of a long-acting injectable progestin is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

  • According to an article featured in Diabetes Care, Latino women with a prior history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes during their reproductive years. Furthermore, this risk is reportedly increased with additional pregnancies. In a previous study conducted by this group, researchers observed a group of predominantly Latino women with recent gestational diabetes mellitus who had selected to use a low-dose combination of oral contraceptives. That study showed that there had been no increased risk of diabetes in those women compared with women who had selected a non-hormonal contraceptive. By comparison, women who reportedly selected progestin-only oral contraceptives while breast-feeding had nearly three times the risk of diabetes (which was not specifically explained by breast-feeding alone).  For this particular study, researchers aimed to investigate the impact of a long-acting injectable progestin (a form of contraception) compared with a combination of oral contraceptives in order to see what impact this has on the risk of diabetes in Latino women with prior gestational diabetes mellitus. The study included a group of 526 Hispanic women with prior gestational diabetes mellitus who were not diabetic after giving birth to their offspring during January 1987 to October 1997. These women elected to use injectable progestin as their initial form of contraception and were followed up by researchers for a maximum of 9.2 years with an average follow-up about every 12 months. According to the article, oral glucose tolerance tests were performed during these follow-up visits and the woman’s current choice of contraception method was also recorded at each visit. After compiling their data, researchers reportedly found that the use of a long-acting injectable progestin was associated with an increased risk of diabetes.1

1Long-Acting Injectable Progestin Contraception and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Latino Women with Prior Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Care, Vol. 29, No. 3, March 2006, pp. 613-617.


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