No pharmacologic agents are free of toxicity. How safe are oral contraceptives? Never before has a potent drug achieved such widespread use relatively soon after its introduction. Both physicians who prescribe and sociologists who advocate the use of the drugs should be aware of reports in the literature suggesting serious side effects caused by the pills. The lack of adequate data precludes a definite answer. This fact alone is worthy of emphasis.
In a recent issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Cole1 has reported on six young women thought to have cerebral infarction, each of whom was using oral contraceptives when the stroke occurred. He suggests, as do others in the literature,2,3 that the pills may play a causative role in occlusive vascular disease in certain patients. Women with hypertension, migraine, or vascular disease are thought to be especially at risk.
Cole1 and Bickerstaff and Holmes