Women taking oral contraceptives for 3years saw a reduction in the odds of developingmultiple sclerosis (MS). The study, asreported in the Archives of Neurology (September2005), compared 106 women newlydiagnosed with MS between January 1, 1993,and December 31, 2000, with 1001 womenwithout the disease. The participants werechosen for the study based on a researchdatabase that included medical and pharmacyrecords for 3 million British patients.
"The incidence of MS in [oral contraceptive]users was 40% lower than in nonusers,"the investigators reported. "Womenhad a higher risk of developing first symptomsof MS in the 6 months following apregnancy and a nonsignificant lower riskduring pregnancy, compared with thosewith no pregnancy.... This is consistent withstudies on the effect of pregnancy inpatients with MS and the immunologicalchanges associated with pregnancy."