Archive for bone density

Birth Control may decrease bone density , says new study

Posted in birth control, Birth Control Dangers with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2011 by saynsumthn

Gradual bone reduction seen in some pill users

Changes in bone density in oral contraceptive users depends on age and hormone dose

Seattle, WA—Birth control pills may reduce a woman’s bone density, according to a study published online July 13 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism by Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) scientists. Impacts on bone were small, depended on the woman’s age and the pill’s hormone dose, and did not appear until about two years of use. The study size and design allowed the researchers to focus on 14- to 18-year-old teenagers, and to look at how bone density might change when a woman stops using the pill.

GHRI Senior Investigator Delia Scholes, PhD, led the study. Hormones are a key component of bone health, she says, and hormonal contraceptives are a major source of external hormones for women—the pill is the most common birth control method worldwide. A woman’s risk of fractures later in life is influenced by the bone mass she gains in her teens through her 20s, and this age group has the highest use of oral contraceptives. “The teen years are when women most actively gain bone, so we thought it was important to look at that age group,” says Scholes. “We found that oral contraceptive use had a small negative impact on bone gain at these ages, but took time to appear, and depended on hormone dose.”
The researchers measured hip, spine, and whole-body bone densities in 301 teen women aged 14-18, and in 305 young adult women aged 19-30, all Group Health Cooperative members. The bone densities of 389 participants using oral contraceptives were compared to 217 similar women who were not using this method, looking at both teens and young adults, and the two most commonly prescribed estrogen doses in pills: 20-25 micrograms and 30-35 micrograms. Bone density measurements were taken at the start of the study, and every 6 months for 2 to 3 years. During that time, 172 oral contraceptive users stopped taking the medication, allowing the researchers to measure bone changes after pill use was discontinued. They found:

* After two years, teens who used 30-35 microgram pills showed about 1% less gain in bone density at both the spine and whole body sites than teens who did not use hormonal contraceptives.
* For young adult women, users and non-users of oral contraceptives showed no differences in bone density at any site.
* Any differences in bone density between users and nonusers of oral contraceptives were less than 2%, and were seen only after two or more years of use, and only at some measured sites.
* At 12-24 months after stopping, teens who took 30-35 microgram pills still showed smaller bone density gains at the spine than teens who did not use oral contraceptives.
* At 12-24 months after stopping, young adult women who used either pill dose showed small bone density losses at the spine compared to small gains in women who did not take oral contraceptives.

Scholes says additional studies, including looking at bone changes for a longer time after pill use is discontinued, may tell us more about how oral contraceptive use is related to fracture risk. For now, the results of Scholes’ study may help women make informed decisions. “Bone health, especially for long-term users of the pill, may be one of many factors women consider in choosing a contraceptive method that’s right for them,” she says. The US Surgeon General recommends that women maintain bone density by eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D, getting weight-bearing exercise, not smoking, and limiting drinking alcohol.

Dr. Scholes’ co-authors are Rebecca A. Hubbard, PhD, Laura E. Ichikawa, MS, and Leslie Spangler VMD, PhD, Group Health Research Institute (GHRI); Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD, MPH, and Jeannette M. Beasley, PhD, MPH, RD, Women’s Health Initiative, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle WA; Susan Reed, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (UW); and Susan M. Ott, MD, Department of Medicine, UW.
Funding was from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

Group Health Research Institute
Founded in 1947, Group Health Cooperative is a Seattle-based, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system. Group Health Research Institute (www.grouphealthresearch.org) changed its name from Group Health Center for Health Studies on September 8, 2009. Since 1983, the Institute has conducted nonproprietary public-interest research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health problems. Government and private research grants provide its main funding.

Contraceptive Dangers Rising Concern Over Side Effects

Posted in Abortion pill, birth control, Birth Control Dangers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by saynsumthn

Note- This came out in 2005- research has been done to prove further dangers since:

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 8, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Even as governments and family planning groups continue to push contraceptives, new evidence is coming forward on their dangerous side effects. In England, the minister for children, Margaret Hodge, declared that she was in favor of injectable contraceptives for schoolgirls, BBC reported Nov. 16.

“What is really interesting is this contraceptive injection,” she declared. “If people are having sex, you don’t want them to have babies at that age.”

Hodge’s enthusiasm for contraceptives flies in the face of scientific warnings. On Aug. 23 Reuters reported on research by a team from the University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Women who use the injected contraceptive Depo-Provera have a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases, they concluded.

Charles Morrison, of Family Health International, said that more study is needed, but it is possible that Depo-Provera itself causes a susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases. “We did adjust for differences in condom use, differences in multiple partners, differences in the number of sexual coital acts,” he told Reuters.

Depo-Provera is also under scrutiny by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has now stipulated that the drug must carry a special warning that prolonged use can cause significant loss of bone density, the Associated Press reported Nov. 17.

Shortly after the FDA announcement, another study confirmed the problem of bone loss due to Depo-Provera, Reuters reported Dec. 23. Researchers from the University of Iowa compared 178 women using the injectable with 145 women not using hormonal contraception.

Average bone density at the hip fell 2.8% one year after starting Depo-Provera and 5.8% after two years. Loss of bone density in the spine was similar. This compares to average bone loss of less than 0.9% among the control group.

Deadly side effects

Another contraceptive with troubling consequences is the so-called patch. Last April 4 the New York Post reported on the case of 18-year-old Zakiya Kennedy, who died as a result of blood clots, formed as a result of her patch contraceptive. She had switched from using birth-control pills to the patch about three weeks before her death.

The newspaper followed this up with a Sept. 19 report tying the Ortho Evra patch, the only kind marketed in the United States, to the deaths of at least 17 women in the past two years. The article added that scores of other women using the patch have suffered complications, including 21 “life-threatening” cases of blood clots and other ailments. The data came from FDA reports obtained by the newspaper.

The article added that the manufacturer claims the patch has been used by 4 million American women since it went on sale in 2002. A company spokesman commented that the illnesses and deaths are “consistent with the health risks” of the pill, which it says kills 0.3 to 1.9 women in every 100,000 users ages 15 to 29.

Concerns over the health risks of another contraceptive forced the FDA to step in a few days ago to correct a TV commercial. Reuters reported Dec. 30 that the FDA warned Barr Pharmaceuticals that its ads for Seasonale pills failed to mention the side effect of frequent and substantial bleeding.

The FDA warned the company that the commercial misleads consumers by excluding this information, to make the birth control pill seem safer. The warning came in a letter to the company released by the FDA on Dec. 29. In addition to the bleeding problems the pill’s label warns that other side effects can include blood clots, heart attack and stroke. But the commercials, observed the FDA, use “compelling visuals” and “fast-paced scene changes” along with other techniques that distract from warning information.

Good news proved false

One recent report at first seemed to disprove health worries over contraceptives. The British newspaper Guardian on Oct. 26 noted that some studies had concluded that the pill could help protect women from heart disease and strokes. Plus, another study of women in America concluded that the pill did not increase the risk of breast or cervical cancer.

These results were presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference in Philadelphia last October. The data came from the ongoing Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, which is tracking a group of more than 160,000 women.

The report in the Guardian was skeptical about the positive news. It noted that the WHI study had previously reported data linking hormone replacement treatment to an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes. The contraceptive pill and HRT are practically the same, the article noted.

The doubts proved to be prescient. On Nov. 27 the London-based Times reported that the WHI had subsequently rejected the findings drawn from its data and demanded a retraction.

Jacques Rossouw, acting director of the WHI, admitted to the Times that the study lacked credibility. “The researchers just looked at base-line data, which is very poor data,” he said. “That is why the findings are so bizarre. These kinds of results are just not credible.”

The Times followed this story up with another article, on Dec. 13, that warned of higher stroke risks for women who take the pill. Based on a study of more than 5,000 people, researchers from Canada, the United State and Spain have concluded that migraine sufferers who take the pill are up to eight times more likely to suffer a stroke than those not using it. The Times added that migraines affect an estimated 6 million people in Britain, with women being more susceptible to the problem.

So-called morning-after pills are also associated with health problems. A July 30 report by Medical News Today summarized the findings of a study published by Dr. Gene Rudd in the September issue of the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

Last July 22, Barr Laboratories reapplied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to receive approval for Plan B to be made available over-the-counter, after the FDA’s initial refusal. Rudd’s article contains data arguing that easing access to Plan B would place the health of many women at risk.

Rudd noted that nonprescription access to Plan B would keep many women out of doctors’ offices and away from appropriate, comprehensive care. Additionally, Plan B may encourage more risk-taking behaviors such as “unprotected” sex that increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Health concerns are not limited to contraceptives. The abortion pill RU-486 has been linked to a number of deaths. A well-known case is the 2003 death of Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old Californian who succumbed to septic shock after taking RU-486.

Holly’s father, Monty Patterson, said that the FDA should ban the abortion pill after a third death was being linked to its use, the Associated Press reported Nov. 16. That same day, the New York Times reported that the FDA has asked that the warning label on the RU-486 be strengthened.

In an opinion article published Nov. 19 in the New York Times, Donna Harrison, an obstetrician-gynecologist and member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, accused authorities of having given the green light to the abortion pill in 2000 due to political interference by the Clinton administration.

She explained that documents recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Clinton administration “pushed to get RU-486 approved before the 2000 election despite the lack of reliable data demonstrating its safety.” That news may have come too late for at least a few RU-486 users.