Pharmaceutical

Women should spend more time weighing risks of birth control options

A British survey suggests one in three women spend no more than five minutes selecting a suitable contraceptive method to use, according to Medical News Today. The report, conducted by Family Planning Association, is part of the organization’s Finding the Perfect Partner (Choose What You Use) campaign to help reduce unplanned pregnancy and abortion, and to promote greater control over contraceptive choice among women and health professionals. It found that despite the seemingly little care women put into the decision of what type of birth control to use, nearly half have had an unwanted pregnancy scare.

“Another issue is that contraceptive choice isn’t just a clinical decision, it’s a lifestyle one and it should be promoted this way to women much more than it currently is,” says Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of FPA.

Perhaps another reason why women should take a closer look at their birth control method is the potential health risks it may carry. Women simply cannot trust the FDA to ensure the safety of a product. Of particular concern is the Ortho Evra Contraceptive Transdermal Patch. The patch is one of the newer types of birth control targeting younger women who don’t want mess with the hassle of taking a pill everyday.

The patch’s makers, Johnson & Johnson, however, are facing numerous lawsuits from young women or their family members who have suffered serious side effects such as blood clots, strokes and even death. Some of the lawsuits have already been resolved, ending in confidential settlements. Johnson & Johnson says it is ready to work out settlements in the other lawsuits it faces.

Advocacy groups have petitioned the FDA to pull the patches from the marketplace, but the patches are still available and doctors continue to write prescriptions for them.