More Birth Control Pills Tied To Clot Risks

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In a study released last Monday, it was found out that a newer type of birth control pill may carry a higher risk of blood clots than previous versions and forms of the drug. The said study included about 330,000 Israeli women and they were able to find that those who used birth control pills with the hormone drospirenone- which is found in brand names like Yaz and Yasmin, were more likely than other pill users to suffer from blood clots called venous thromboembolisms.

Generally, there were over six cases of venous blood clots per 10,000 pill users each year in the study. However, the risk was 43% to 65% higher with drospirenone containing pills, as compared with older (second and third generation pills). This results to an increased risk of about eight to ten clots per 10,000 women per year.

Venous thromboembolisms most commonly result from blood clots in the leg veins, but these can travel to the lungs wherein pulmonary embolism may occur.

“It’s important to remember that all oral contraceptives are associated with a risk of blood clots,” said Dr. Susan Solymoss of McGill University in Montreal, who wrote an editorial published with the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

She also suggested that women considering their birth control options should have an “open discussion” with their physicians to discuss the risks and benefits of various contraceptives. A key consideration, according to Dr. Solymoss is that “whether you have other risk factors for blood clots, like obesity or high blood pressure. It may make sense to avoid the Pill formulation with the highest clot risk.”

Also, lead author of the study, Dr. Naomi Gronic said that, “Age is another.” In the study, she told reporters that, “blood clot risk gradually increased after the age of 25.” (Women who are older than 35 and smoke — another clot risk factor — are already advised to avoid birth control pills in general.)

It can be remembered that last week, the US FDA released an update about their own investigation of the question. Based on the records they found, more than 800,000 women in the US who used the pill between 2001 and 2007, the risk was higher among those taking drosperinone pills.

The FDA also said that the risk can be equated to about 10 cases of blood clots for every 10,000 women using the newer pills, as compared to those using the older pills which is about six out of 10,000 women per year.

Maker of the oral contraceptive pills like Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz and Safyral said that it was also reviewing the new study from Israel but refused to comment on it. Drospirenone is a progestin, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone.

“A woman already on drospirenone for four months probably shouldn’t be more worried than if she (were on) another second- or third-generation contraceptive,” Gronich said finally.





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