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Oral Contraceptive Pill May Protect Against ACL Tears

Risk for acute cruciate ligament reconstruction reduced while on OCP, especially for 15- to 19-year-olds

MONDAY, May 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use is associated with reduced odds of experiencing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, especially for girls aged 15 to 19 years, according to a study recently published online in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

Steven F. DeFroda, M.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues compared OCP users aged 15 to 49 years who experienced an ACL tear and underwent surgery to a control group of women not on OCPs who were undergoing surgery for an ACL tear. The rate of ACL reconstruction was compared for OCP users and nonusers according to age intervals.

A total of 82,874 patients were included in both groups. The researchers found that 0.69 and 0.56 percent of patients in the non-OCP and OCP groups, respectively, experienced an ACL tear requiring reconstruction. Patients aged 15 to 19 years accounted for 29.35 percent of all ACL reconstructions in the non-OCP group and 13.33 percent in the OCP group. The odds ratio for experiencing an ACL reconstruction while on OCPs versus not using OCPs was 0.82 for all age groups; this protective effect was mainly driven by the 15- to 19-year age group (odds ratio, 0.37).

“While clinical evidence is limited, there should be consideration for OCP usage in elite high school and college aged athletes, especially those who are at risk of ACL tear,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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