Newer Birth Control Pills Increase Risk of Fatal Blood Clots

birth control
Science & Medicine

birth controlAny drug that alters your hormones will have side effects. The endocrine system of the body is a complex one that controls everything from weight to reproduction and sleep. While “3rd generation” birth control pills have been on the market for years and are offered as an option with fewer side effects, evidence continues to mount that the side effects they do carry could be deadly.

Fatal blood clots (thrombosis) are one of the many side effects of oral contraceptives. But in pills known as “3rd generation”, these risks are even more pronounced.

These pills have recently been blamed for 14 deaths per year in France. In Britain, doctors are being told they must warn patients of the increased risk, part of a new warning checklist, before they prescribe the drugs.

In the U.S., the most well-known 3rd-generation contraceptive is Yasmin, or Yaz, a drug that despite the known-dangers continues to make Big Pharma corporation Bayer billions of dollars each year. In 2012, they made $1.43 billion off of the drugs, even after they settled claims against them—paying almost an equal amount ($1.4 billion) to plaintiffs numbering more than 6,000.

Women were warned of the risks, on the side of their prescriptions, but warnings from doctors and pharmacists varied from practitioner to practitioner. In 2008, Yaz was the best-selling variety of oral contraceptive in the U.S.

Read: Birth Control Could Up HIV Risk

Part of these drugs’ successes are due to their promise of benefits. Yaz, for instance, was offered as a birth control method that simultaneously fought mild acne. Others here and abroad offer birth control without the expected hormonal side effects of weight gain, headaches, and hair growth.

As the DailyMail reports, the risks of developing a deadly blood clot on these birth control pills is far greater than the general risk among healthy women. Generally, a woman of child bearing age has a 1 in 5,000 chance of developing a clot. If she’s on birth control, it rises to 1 in 1,700. If that birth control is a 3rd generation contraceptive, the risk is 1 in 800.

Researchers are still trying to pinpoint how the drugs lead to blood clots, but have identified the following brands as containing the potentially dangerous hormones: Evra Patch, Femodene, Gedarel, Katya, Marvelon, Mercilon, Millinette, Sunya, Triadene, Yasmin and Yaz.