A few months back, the FDA said they were investigating the matter of those dangerous, "next generation" birth control pills that both Canadian and British studies have shown to be associated with an extremely elevated risk of blood clots. This week, the U.S. verdict came in!
The FDA's study reviewed the medical history of more than 800,000 American women who had taken various forms of birth control from 2001 to 2007. Women on Bayer's Yasmin, Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Evra patch, and Merck's Nuvaring were among those with the highest instances of blood clots. And on average, women taking Bayer's popular Yaz had a 75 PERCENT greater chance of experiencing a blood clot than women on older forms of the Pill. Wow. Now, we have FDA-approved proof that these pills are officially dangerous. And yet ... now what? Crickets?
Across the country, we've still got OB/GYNs pushing their patients to go on these pills. Women putting their feet in stirrups with the little socks "sponsored" by these pills. (Welcome to your annual pap smear ... brought to you by blood clots!) Oh, but if you speak up and say you refuse to go on Yaz or Yasmin, the doc will probably say, "Maybe you'd like to try Beyaz?!" Because apparently, we women are so dense, we can't figure it out that Bayer's marketing the same dangerous drug with two letters switched out and added folic acid. By the way, drospirenone is also in pill brands Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Safyral, Syeda, and Zarah. (Side note: Don't believe it if you're told that you have to be on one of these pills to "treat" PCOS or another hormonal imbalance. Naturopathic and holistic doctors frequently help women take charge of their hormonal health safely and naturally -- without shutting down the entire reproductive system -- through lifestyle, exercise, and possibly supplements.)
You would think this study would be the last straw. You would think that, now, the FDA absolutely owes it to women to take some major steps toward banning drospirenone as a progestin in birth control pills. As for Yasmin, Ortho Evra, and Nuvaring, maybe they should come with a really huge warning on the box and a lot more counsel from these script-happy doctors. Ultimately, it would be awesome if the FDA cared enough to allow bioidentical forms of birth control that wouldn't screw with our bodies in the same way these fake, lab-created versions do. (But Big Pharma would never go for that; too much money at stake since you can't patent something natural!)
But in reality, we're probably going to have to sit back and watch as the FDA continues to OK drugs that are clearly not safe, and listen to BS "statements" from the government and Big Pharma that read like, "Chill out, ladies, and keep poppin' your Yaz!" All the while, women on these drugs are at serious risk. I can only hope more of us start telling our health care providers, "Thanks, but no thanks," and vow to choose safer methods of birth control that won't kill us.
How do you feel about this new finding from the FDA?
Image via Iain Watson/Flickr