April 23, 2011

Birth control pills are a form of hormonal contraception known as “the pill” that are taken by mouth by women to prevent pregnancy, which are 99.9% effective. The pill does not, however, protect against sexually transmitted diseases including the virus that causes HIV.

The pill contains a small amount of synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones that work to prohibit the natural cyclical hormones and stop the release of an egg from the ovary. The hormones in the pill change the cervical mucus which makes it difficult for the sperm and egg to come together, makes the lining of the womb less likely to allow implantation of an egg, and thus prevent pregnancy.

Use of the pill has been associated with an increase risk of forming blood clots, which can be fatal, although the  risk is very small.

Older forms of the pill used a form of progestin called levonorgestrel. The reported risk of blood clots for the pill using levonorgestrel is 12.5 per 100,000 woman years.

Some newer forms of the pill use the hormone drospirenone, such as Ocella, Yasmin, and Yaz. A new study has reported an increase risk for non-fatal blood clots while using drospirenone (30.8 blood clots per 100,000 woman years, which represents about twice the risk of blood clots than with levonorgestrel), although the manufacturers of the pills containing drospirenone challenge the methods and the findings of the studies.

Whether the pill contains the older levonorgestrel or the newer drospirenone, it still appears that the risk of forming blood clots while on the pill is relatively very small. Other risk factors unrelated to the use of the pill also influence the risk of forming blood clots.

The use of the pill and the choice of which pill to use is a personal choice and should be made between each woman and her prescribing health care professional after discussing the issues involving birth control, the options for birth control, the method of birth control, the health of the woman, and the woman’s life choices.

As with all prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications, the pill can offer treatment options but not without risks. The benefits must be weighed against the risks so that an informed decision can be made.

If you suffered adverse consequences while using the pill, you can visit our website to be connected to medical malpractice lawyers in your area to discuss your possible medical malpractice claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.