Intake of oral contraceptive pills may negatively impact healthy women's general quality of life and their well-being, self-control and energy levels, a new study warns. Researchers, including those from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, randomly treated about 340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35 over the course of three months with either pills with no effect (placebos) or contraceptive pills containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel - the most common form of combined contraceptive pill in Sweden. Neither the leaders of the experiment nor the subjects knew which treatment was given to which women. The women who were given contraceptive pills estimated their quality of life to be significantly lower than those who were given placebos, researchers said. Both general quality of life and specific aspects like mood/well-being, self-control and energy level were affected negatively by the contraceptives.
No significant increase in depressive symptoms was observed. Since the changes were relatively small, the results must be interpreted with a certain amount of caution, researchers said. In the case of individual women, however, the negative effect on quality of life may be of clinical importance. "This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills," said Niklas Zethraeus, associate professor at Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. "This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception," said Zethraeus. The study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.