Safe and effective contraceptive methods are essential for women with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), but opinions on the use of hormonal oral contraceptives by these women are conflicting. We evaluated the effects on glycometabolic control and lipoprotein metabolism in women with IDDM treated with an oral contraceptive not previously studied in a diabetic population.


A total of 22 women with IDDM received a monophasic combination of ethinyl estradiol and gestodene for 1 year; 20 women of comparable diabetic status using nonhormonal contraception were selected as control subjects. Evaluation was performed before and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months of hormonal intake using nonparametric statistical methods.


Except for a higher median age of the control group, the baseline values for all clinical and metabolic variables were similar in the two groups, and in neither of the groups were changes in blood pressure, body mass index, or glycemic control observed. In the oral contraceptive group, decreased serum levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increased levels of triglycerides and lipoprotein A were noted, whereas total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were unchanged. In the control group, a decrease of LDL cholesterol was observed. No effect of tobacco smoking on glycometabolic control or lipoprotein metabolism could be demonstrated during hormonal intake.


No evidence of impaired glycometabolic control or adverse changes in serum levels of lipoproteins known to be associated with atherosclerosis was observed in women with well-controlled IDDM during 1 year of oral contraception with ethinyl estradiol and gestodene.

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