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SEXUALIDADE E PLANEAMENTO FAMILIAR. 1995 Jul-Sep; (7):17-8.The Portuguese Association of Family Planning has learned about a study of the World Health Organization that associated certain types of combined oral contraceptives (OCs) with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, notably deep venous thrombosis. The position of the International Medical Advisory Panel (IMAP) of the IPPF, however, was that such conclusions were not definitive and new studies should be conducted to confirm or refute these conclusions. Furthermore, since the risk is rare, those using OCs should have regular medical examinations. For the majority of OC users the benefits outweigh the risks. The author of one of the two studies that hinted at the cardiovascular risks of third-generation progestagens stated that the British authorities incorrectly interpreted the data, which were preliminary. In fact, these data suggest that the new generation of OCs protects against cardiac attack and associated mortality. Even the WHO took the position that these results should be confirmed by independent studies. The polemic mounted when the British authorities issued an alert about the possible negative effects of seven types of OCs containing progestagens which putatively doubled the risk of venous thrombosis. This was based on the findings of three studies: two of them were incomplete, one was done at the initiative of the WHO, one was carried out in Europe, and the third one was done in the UK. At the meeting of the Committee of Pharmaceutical Specialties of the European Agency of Medicaments in October 1995 in London the position was taken that it is not appropriate to withdraw such OCs; investigators should analyze these data in depth and perform new studies; the three companies that manufacture such OCs should submit more information by the end of 1995; and physicians should take into account thromboembolic risk factors when prescribing such OCs.