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Exposure to combined oral contraceptives and risk of venous thromboembolism: a protocol for nested case–control studies using the QResearch and the CPRD databases
  1. Yana Vinogradova,
  2. Carol Coupland,
  3. Julia Hippisley-Cox
  1. Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Yana Vinogradova; Yana.Vinogradova{at}


Introduction Many studies have found an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) associated with the use of combined hormonal contraceptives, but various methodologies have been used in the study design relating to definition of VTE event and the selection of appropriate cases for analysis. This study will focus on common oral hormonal contraceptives, including compositions with cyproterone because of their contraceptive effect and will perform a number of sensitivity analyses to compare findings with previous studies.

Methods and analysis 2 nested case–control studies will be based on the general population using records from UK general practices within the QResearch and Clinical Practice Research Datalink databases. Cases will be female patients aged 15–49 with primary VTE diagnosed between 2001 and 2013. Each case will be matched by age, year of birth and practice to five female controls, who are alive and registered with the practice at the time of diagnosis of the case (index date). Exposure to different hormonal contraceptives will be defined as at least one prescription for that contraceptive in the year before the index date. The effects of duration and the length of any gap since last use will also be investigated. Conditional logistic regression will be applied to calculate ORs adjusted for smoking, ethnicity, comorbidities and use of other medications. Possible indications for prescribing hormonal contraceptives, such as menstrual disorders, acne or hirsutism will be included in the analyses as confounding factors. A number of sensitivity analyses will be carried out.

Ethics and dissemination The initial protocol has been reviewed and approved by ISAC (Independent Scientific Advisory Committee) for Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency Database Research. The project has also been reviewed by QResearch and meets the requirements of the Trent Research Ethics Committee. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • Primary Care
  • Epidemiology

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