Optimal management of hormonal contraceptives after an episode of venous thromboembolism

  • Frederikus A. Klok
    Corresponding author at: Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.
    Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

    Department of Medicine - Thrombosis & Hemostasis, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • Stefano Barco
    Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
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      Optimal management of hormonal contraception in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) requires an individualized approach considering its potential benefits and complications during and after anticoagulant treatment. Potential benefits include prevention of pregnancy and mitigation of menstrual bleeding that is often worsened after start of anticoagulation therapy. Current evidence suggests that patients may opt for a continuation of (all forms of) hormonal contraception during anticoagulant treatment, provided that they are adequately informed by the treating physicians. Combined oral contraceptives should be stopped before anticoagulant therapy may be discontinued, preferably after the second last menstrual cycle of the intended anticoagulant treatment period. If hormonal contraceptive treatment needs to be initiated in patients with a history of VTE, oral prostagen-only therapy or intra-uterine devices are to be preferred: this may be independent of the anticoagulation status and in light of a negligible risk of (recurrent) VTE associated with their use.


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