Pharmaceutical

Are birth control pills for acne treatment a good idea?

The benefits of using birth control pills outweigh the risks, according to a Style Bistro story, which supports the use of oral contraceptives for the treatment of acne. There are three birth control pills that are FDA-approved for such use – Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep, and Yaz. The latter of these is one of the nation’s most prescribed birth control pills. It is also under a new safety review by the FDA based on data that links use of the pills to serious and life threatening health risks.

The story lauded contraceptives for their preventative benefits: “Women on birth control see a 60 percent decreased risk of ovarian cancer. There is also a 50 percent reduction in uterine cancer which has 37,000 new cases each year.” Yet, the story fails to mention the serious risks associated with Yaz, a newer generation birth control pill that combines the hormones ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone, as well as other birth control pills.

All birth control pills carry a slight risk for blood clots. But new studies suggest that some pills, especially those containing drospirenone, may put women at even greater risk for developing the condition. Blood clots are serious health problems that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and even sudden death.

Last month, based on new studies published in the British Medical Journal, the FDA and Health Canada announced they were reviewing studies on the health risks associated with Yaz, Yasmin (also made with ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone) and their generic equivalents. Early reviews of the studies comparing oral contraceptives containing drospirenone with pills containing another progestin, indicate that drospirenone-containing pills may put women at greater risk for blood clots.

Bayer, the makers of Yaz and Yasmin, have held firm on the message that their pills are no more dangerous than other oral contraceptives. However, the company was ordered by the FDA this summer to add stronger blood clot warnings on the safety labels of both Yaz and Yasmin. Bayer also faces about 2,000 lawsuits from injured women who allege that they were not properly warned by the company that the pills could be deadly.

Still think the benefits of an acne-free face outweigh the risk of life-altering blood clots?

Source: Style Bistro