Birth control is supposed to be a safe and effective way for women to plan their families and prevent pregnancies until they are ready for them. But various birth control products are coming under a great deal of scrutiny lately, making some women question whether they are safe enough to take.
On January 31, 2012, Pfizer Inc. announced that it was recalling one million packets of birth control pills because of packaging errors. The company stated that because of this error, women taking Lo/Ovral-28 or generic norgestrel/ethinyl estradiol pills could have received an inadequate dose of the drug, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancies. These pills were manufactured and packaged by Pfizer, and sold under the Akrimax Pharmaceuticals brand.
Medical experts have advised that women who have taken these pills should first take a pregnancy test if they have any symptoms of pregnancy. Then they should switch to a non-hormonal form of contraception if they are not pregnant, notify their health care provider of what happened, and return the defective product to the pharmacy.
The recall announcement by Pfizer comes a month after an advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration stated that the labels on Yaz and Yasmin need to be strengthed to warn about possible blood clots as Yaz side effects. The two most serious side effects associated with Yaz and Yasmin are deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT occurs when a clot forms in a vein deep in the body, such as the lower leg or thigh. If the clot reaches the lungs, PE may occur, which is when a clot blocks an artery in the lung, leading to oxygen deprivation, organ damage, brain damage, or even death.
Many women have experienced these symptoms, and so far, more than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer, the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, alleging harm caused by taking the pills. For example, Lynsey Lee, a McIntyre Law client who is 19 years old, took Yaz when she was 16 to relieve severe menstrual cramping. She has been diagnosed with PE, and must take blood thinners daily. These side effects have destroyed her life, and she had to give up a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University to as she is too weak to handle a rigorous college curriculum.
Women should not have to worry whether birth control is safe or not. Unfortunately, the recent problems associated with certain birth control products have shown that some of them are unsafe. These products may not be worth taking as the benefits of them may be outweighed by the risks.