"The Pill" is Safer than Pregnancy

birth control pillsEvery type of contraception is safer than the condition it is preventing… pregnancy. Ironically many people believe the contrary. So this is a great starting point for contraceptive counseling.

Recently there has been an onslaught of TV commercials, produced by lawyers, soliciting patients who utilize birth control pills containing the progestin drospirenone: Yasmin®, Yaz®, and the generic Ocella®. The solicitation requests patients who have had side effects to contact these lawyers so they so that they may be compensated. These pills have been targeted as they are the most popular branded oral contraceptives in America.

While there is a small risk of blood clots with these birth control pills, it is no different than other ones containing different types of progestins (FDA statement). This risk of blood clots has been estimated at approximately 16 per 100,000 birth control pill users per year, which is far less than the rate of 1 in 1000 pregnancies. Nevertheless, the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (e.g. blood clots, strokes) in pill users who smoke is significantly increased. Advancing age compounds this effect. Consequently, the pill should not be recommended for smokers 35 years of age and over.

While we don’t want to promote one birth control pill over another, drospirenone is a unique progestin, and pills containing it also reduce acne and pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or more commonly referred to as PMS). So let’s help educate women to not be misinformed by these predatory TV commercials, perhaps prematurely discontinuing their pill and risking an unplanned pregnancy.