Oral contraceptives have been around for a long time and most of us are familiar with the unfortunate side effects that come along with them. Blood clots have been one of those side effects and most women know the risk they are taking when they make the decision to go on the pill. However, it seems that with all of the new and improved pills that are coming out the risks are changing and the consumers aren’t always informed.
Last September, 18-year-old freshman Michelle Pfleger collapsed on her college campus and died later that day in a nearby hospital. The cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrest due to a massive blood clot reaching her lungs. Michelle had been taking Yaz for about a year. Since her death, Michelle’s mother has filed a suit against German pharmaceutical firm Bayer claiming that it’s product contributed to her daughter’s death and does not contain adequate warnings.
Yaz, Yasmin, and the generic Ocella are all different from most other birth control pills on the market. All birth control pills contain a type of female sex hormone progestin. Most of the ones on the market use a type called levonorgestrel. Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella use a different type called drospirenone. Some recent studies have shown that women taking birth control containing drospirenone are two to three times more likely to develop blood clots than the women taking birth control pills containing levonorgestrel. The FDA is currently evaluating and comparing these new results with past studies and will use all current information to assess the risks and benefits of these medications.
Women need to be informed about all the risks of their birth control so they can make the best decision for their health and well-being. Most women know birth control pills have a small risk of causing blood clots, but when a different type of birth control comes out that is two to three times more likely to have this effect, that difference should be made clear.