Emma Keogh, Biology & Psychology 3rd Year
Many females in Britain are well aware of the benefits of the contraceptive pill, the most important being the inhibition of their ovulation, which in essence causes temporary infertility. These little pills have been riding on our shelves for decades, many of which are known as ‘Cerazette’ or ‘Yasmin’. As well as being utilised for contraceptive purposes, such pills are also available on prescription for hormonal acne, providing women with a fast-working, effective and short-term treatment. It is therefore understandable from a superficial platform why these pills have been widely available on the NHS for over fifty years.
Much later than sooner, there was an increase in the number of lawsuits filed against
pills such as ‘Yasmin’- with 12,000 lawsuits filed in 2012 alone against the manufacturer ‘Bayer’. What could have possibly gone wrong? Several severe side
effects had been observed amongst many patients, including an increased risk of blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
It has taken over fifty years to understand and acknowledge the long-term side effects
of these contraceptive pills which are today available over the counter. As of 2014, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the United Kingdom has directed healthcare professionals to exercise caution when prescribing contraceptive medication for skin conditions, as well as informing their patients the risks of doubling their chances of blood clot formations.
Many oral contraceptives, including Dianette, have already been banned in many areas of Europe, including France, where Dianette has been linked to the deaths of fourteen women.
Furthermore, the European Medicines Agency is conducting ongoing investigations into the safety of the drug. There have been a further seven recorded deaths of women in Britain linked to oral contraceptives, six of which were attributed to blood clots or other blood vessel blockages, according to the MHRA. The MHRA further claim that there are no direct links between the contraceptives, however GP’s are encouraged to record suspected drug reactions. But it remains to be seen whether the benefits of what has been nicknamed a “miracle cure” for acne, outweigh the costs of a seven-fold increased risk of blood clotting.
One UK mother stated that ‘I would like to see it outlawed in Britain because, even if only a handful are adversely affected, it’s too much like playing Russian roulette with their lives,’ after losing her 15 year-old daughter to an undiagnosed deep vein thrombosis.
With many mixed opinions in existence, the future of oral contraceptives remains in the hands of the vast number of females, who will one day consider to either accept or reject their use. What are you thinking of doing?