Although technology is advancing at a very rapid pace, and there are many benefits to it, in the case of birth control, it might just be best to stick with the old, and not try any of the newer forms, until further studies prove that the synthetics they are using to make them are completely safe.
A study funded by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has just confirmed that women who use Yaz and Yasmin and similar newer birth control pills have a greater chance of experiencing a dangerous blood clot compared to those taking older versions of oral contraceptives. The FDA study was the second study just released to find that birth control pills like Yaz and Yasmin raise the odds that a woman will suffer a serious blood clot.
The problem with these contraceptives seems to be linked with the synthetic form of the hormone progestin called drospirenone, which is used in them.
The FDA study involved an examination of health records belonging to 800,000 American women using some sort of birth control. Compared to women using birth control pills made with an older form of progestin called levonorgestrel, women taking pills with drospirenone had a 75 percent greater chance of experiencing venous thromboembolisms (VTEs). That’s a pretty big chance!!
A VTE is a dangerous type of blood clot that forms in the legs and can travel to the lungs.
Bayer Healthcare, a division of the German conglomerate, said it ‘is currently evaluating this publication and cannot comment at this point in time.’
Yaz, Yasmin and related drospirenone-containing pills were Bayer’s second-best-selling franchise last year at $1.6 billion in global sales.
The agency also reported higher complications in women using the Ortho Evra patch from Johnson & Johnson and the Nuvaring vaginal ring from Merck & Co. Inc.
Those drugs combine estrogen, which is present in all birth control pills, with two other synthetic hormones launched in the last decade.
The agency said it continues to have concerns about the safety of drospirenone birth control pills, but it has not told women to stop taking the potentially dangerous medications.
“If your birth control pill contains drospirenone, do not stop taking it without first talking to your health care professional,” the FDA said in a statement. “Contact your health care professional immediately if you develop any symptoms of blood clots, including persistent leg pain, severe chest pain or sudden shortness of breath. If you smoke and are over 35 years of age, you should not take combination oral contraceptives because they increase the risk that you could experience serious cardiovascular events, including blood.”
The agency issued a similar statement on September 26, based on a preliminary review of this same study.
However, recent studies have reached differing conclusions on the risks of the newer birth control pills.
A study published involving more than 1 million Danish women found that women taking Yaz and other newer medications had twice the risk of blood clots as women taking the older hormone levonorgestrel. The findings appeared in the British Medical Journal.
However, two studies published in 2007, conducted as part of the post-marketing requirements of the FDA or European regulators, did not find any difference in blood clotting between the two comparable groups
The FDA said it has no final conclusion on the drugs’ safety but will hold a meeting with scientific advisers on Dec. 8.