October 20, 2016 – Oral Contraceptives and Mood


Anchor lead: Are oral contraceptives linked to depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Women who use hormonal methods of birth control, including oral contraceptives, may be at risk to develop depression, a very large study with about a million Danish women found.  Teenagers were among those whose risk was greatest. Maria Trent, an adolescent medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says awareness of this possibility may be the best strategy for now.

Trent: There’s actually discussion to talk to people who are using oral contraceptives about mood changes that they could experience, about the things that may happen in their relationships after they decide to initiate intercourse. I do think some longitudinal work to explore what’s happening with young people is critically important.  The work that we’re doing now around screening young people for depression is essential in thinking about pregnancy prevention.  We can’t stop prescribing contraceptive methods for people who need them. And so I think that we have to do both.   :31

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.