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Morning-After Abortion Pills Linked to Blood Clots

Posted in Abortion pill, birth control, Birth Control Dangers, Morning After Pill, Plan B with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by saynsumthn

Morning-After Pills Linked to Blood Clots
Wendy Wright
Just as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the verge of allowing underage girls to get the morning-after pill with no doctor’s oversight or parental involvement, bad news about the drug comes out of India.

Thaindian News reports:

“A vascular disease called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is on the rise and doctors say it has a lot to do with the increase in sales of over-the-counter contraceptive pills.

“The percentage of DVT in women has seen an increase and frequencies of the disease are found in women taking birth control pills or contraceptives without any prescription,” said Rajiv Parakh, chairman of the division of peripheral vascular and endovascular sciences at Medanta hospital.

The number of cases of DVT among young women suddenly increased at the same time that the morning-after pill has been aggressively advertised. Sales of the drug increased 250 percent in one year in India, with nearly 8.2 million of the pills sold in 2009.

DVT is a blood clot in a deep vein. Blood clots are a known complication of birth control pills. The morning-after pill is a high dose of birth control pills.

“Any amount of estrogen that is not required by the female body is harmful for her. The pills tend to increase the hormone level, resulting in pain and swelling caused by blood clot formation in the veins,” Nutan Agrawal, professor of gynecology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences told Thaindian News.

As expected, teens choose the over-the-counter drug as their birth control method of choice because it’s easy to get. “Because of the availability of drugs with retailers, these contraceptives have become the quick fix to abortions in a very short span of time,” Agrawal said.

Here in the U.S., Teva, the company that owns the morning-after pill Plan B, has asked the FDA to approve its drug for over-the-counter use for anyone. Currently, anyone under 17 needs a prescription to buy it.

When I originally testified against over-the-counter access to Plan B, I pointed out the possible medical risks — including blood clots. Officials ignored the risks to women, apparently rationalizing that the low-dose birth control pills can also cause blood clots.

What they conveniently overlooked is that birth control pills require a prescription. Doctors can warn women of the risks, and of what will increase their risks (like smoking), before giving a prescription. The patients will also have someone to call — the prescribing doctor — if they suspect complications. With over-the-counter access, women mistakenly believe the drug is completely safe and needs no medical consultation.

The FDA and abortion groups — the loudest backers of the morning-after pill — act as if access to birth control is a higher priority than medical risks to women. But they’ve got it easy. They are not held responsible when women end up in the hospital.

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Contraceptive pills a risk for women’s hearts
Wednesday, March 09, 2011 12:02:49 AM by IANS ( Leave a comment )

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Before you pop an emergency birth control pill, think again. Contraceptive medication might be a quick way to prevent pregnancy, but it increases the risk of heart disease among women, say experts.

A vascular disease called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is on the rise and doctors say it has a lot to do with the increase in sales of over-the-counter contraceptive pills.

“Due to changing lifestyles, it has been seen that over-the-counter contraceptive pills can lead to DVT. The chances of DVT multiply for women who smoke and drink,” said Rajiv Parakh, chairman of the division of peripheral vascular and endovascular sciences at Medanta hospital.

“DVT is a serious vascular disease where the blood clot is formed in the deep veins that are the blood carriers, usually in the leg,” added Parakh.

With aggressive advertising of over-the-counter contraceptive pills, cases of DVT have also seen a noticeable rise in recent times, believe experts.

“The percentage of DVT in women has seen an increase and frequencies of the disease are found in women taking birth control pills or contraceptives without any prescription,” points out Parakh.

According to statistics by the government, the sale of nearly 8.2 million over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pills was reported in 2009, a 250 percent increase over 2008. The pills claim to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.

But experts explain how the estrogen content in pills, produced naturally in a woman’s body, becomes the reason for DVT occurrence.

“Any amount of estrogen that is not required by the female body is harmful for her. The pills tend to increase the hormone level, resulting in pain and swelling caused by blood clot formation in the veins,” explained Nutan Agrawal, professor of gynaecology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Gyneacology experts believe it is not just over- the-counter contraceptives that have caused a spurt in DVT cases but also the sedentary lifestyle.

“Sedentary lifestyle and changing work culture are some other reasons behind DVT. Sitting for long hours, erratic work hours, no exercise, smoking and junk food make up for some of the causes that have caused a shift in the hormonal imbalance,” Agrawal said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over seven percent of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12 percent of adolescent boys.

“The reason that the problem of DVT and contraceptives is serious is that we are seeing a lot of young girls in their 20s coming up with cases of the disease,” points out Parakh, who said he gets over 15 cases of DVT in a month.

Agrawal cautioned on how over-the-counter contraceptive drugs have dominated birth control measures for the teen population: “Because of the availability of drugs with retailers, these contraceptives have become the quick fix to abortions in a very short span of time. There is certainly a need for awareness among young girls about sexual health.”

DVT is diagnosed through a host of symptoms that includes pain in the chest, swelling and pain in muscles and legs, and pulmonary or heart-related complications.

(Madhulika Sonkar can be contacted at madhulika.s@ians.in)

More at : Contraceptive pills a risk for women’s hearts http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health1/contraceptive-pills-a-risk-for-womens-hearts_100511734.html#ixzz1IJ65ZF5r