Blood clots linked to contraceptive patches, rings

hand hold patch Blood clots linked to contraceptive patches, ringsLawsuits and bad press over Yaz birth control pills have brought attention to the dangerous risk of blood clots with oral contraceptives. But a new Danish study suggests that non-oral forms of hormonal contraceptives may be just as, if not more, dangerous.

Contraceptives that use hormones, including pills, patches and rings, often carry some risk for blood clots. Blood clots are serious health issues. If they break free and travel to the heart, lungs or brain, they can trigger heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, or strokes, all of which can be deadly.

Yaz made news in recent years because studies showed drospirenone, one of the hormones used in Yaz, put users at even greater risk for developing blood clots compared to pills containing an older hormone, levonorgestrel. Yasmin, Beyaz, Safryal, and some generics also contain drospirenone. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered stronger blood clot warnings be placed on the packages of birth control pills that contain drospirenone.

It was believed that contraceptive skin patches and vaginal rings may be safer, but a study published last week in the British Medical Journal suggests otherwise. In the study, researcher Professor Ojvind Lidegarrd at the University of Copenhagen reviewed data on risks of the patches and rings for blood clots among all Danish non-pregnant women aged 15 to 49 from 2001 to 2010.

He found 3,434 confirmed diagnoses of venous thrombosis, or blood clots. He concluded that some women using patches or rings may benefit from switching to oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel.

Source: CBC News