A story on NPR today focuses on the dangers associated with newer versions of the birth control pill. In the report, the interviewers talk to women who have taken Yaz, a birth control pill that came on the market in 2006. Touted as being “beyond birth control” Yaz quickly became America’s No. 1 birth control pill. Today thousands of women are suing the manufacturer, Bayer HealthCare saying that Yaz caused them serious harm.
There have long been concerns about side effects from taking birth control pills – headaches, nausea, blurred vision, blood clots, strokes, and even death. Despite these concerns, many women have decided that the benefits outweigh the risks. Often this decision is made with the incorrect assumption that only women who are over 35 years old and/or smoke are at real risk for potential side effects.
The truth is that there’s a risk for anyone who chooses a hormonal birth control option. It may be a worthwhile risk for some women in that hormonal options are slightly more effective at preventing pregnancy than most other birth control options. But for others the potential side effects are not worth that risk.
No matter one’s contraceptive choice, it is important to understand the available research and who conducted it, to know the truth about the potential risks, and to be aware of the options. It is also prudent to be careful about taking the newest versions of pharmaceuticals where there may be unknown risks associated.
Read or listen to the NPR report here.
Posted in: Birth Control Side Effects