The birth control pill Ortho-Cept has updated its safety label to include new warnings regarding blood clots in the veins and other vascular problems.
Ortho-Cept is an oral hormonal contraceptive that combines the progestin desogestrel and the estrogen ethyl estradiol. It is common knowledge that birth control pills can increase the risk for blood clots.
The new warnings added to Ortho-Cept state that the risk of suffering a blood clot condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) while taking the pills is highest in the first year of use and when restarting hormonal contraception after a break of four weeks or longer.
When a VTE forms in the deep vein, typically the legs, it is called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. If a DVT breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism, or PE, which is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
The updated warning for Ortho-Cept comes just months after Time magazine reported that women on the pill had a three times greater blood clot risk than women who were not on the pill. The risk appeared greater among women taking newer versions of the hormone progestin, including drospirenone and desogestrel. Brand name birth control pills that contain one of these hormones include Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Ortho-Cept.
The updated safety label for Ortho-Cept was approved by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and goes into effect immediately.