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Birth Control Pills

Are There Side Effects of Birth Control Pills? continued...

Birth control pills that contain drospirenone, including YAZ and Yasmin, have been investigated by the FDA because of the possibility that they may cause an increased risk for blood clots. Drospirenone is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone. Other brands containing drospirenone include Beyaz, Safyral, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Syeda, and Zarah.  

The results of the investigation are inconsistent. Some studies showed there was an increased risk while other studies showed no increased risk. The drugs are still available. A summary of the findings is contained on the packaging label. If you are taking a pill with drospirenone, talk with your doctor about your risk.

Can Any Woman Take Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills can be taken safely by most women. They are not recommended, though, for women over the age of 35 who smoke. If you don't smoke, you can use hormonal contraceptives until menopause. In addition, you should not take hormonal contraceptives if you have had:

  • Blood clots in the arms, legs, or lungs
  • Serious heart or liver disease
  • Cancer of the breast or uterus
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Migraines with aura

There are other conditions as well that may increase your level of risk that comes with taking birth control pills. If you are not sure if you are affected by one of these conditions, ask your doctor. Also, inform your doctor if you have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, child) who has had blood clots in the legs or lungs.

Is it OK to Take Other Drugs While Taking Birth Control Pills?

Some drugs, including antibiotics and antiseizure meds, can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Tell your doctor about all of the medications and over-the-counter agents (including herbs) that you take.

Points to Keep in Mind When Taking Birth Control Pills

  • Keep another form of birth control, like spermicidal foam and condoms, on hand in case you forget to take a pill.
  • Carry your pills with you if you don't always sleep at the same place.
  • Take your pill at the same time every day. If you are using the patch, replace your patch weekly on the same day. If you are using the vaginal ring, remove it after three weeks of use and insert a new one 7 days later.
  • Get your refills soon after you start the last prescription. Don't wait until the last minute to request refills.
  • Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings are all medications. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist you are on the pill, patch, or vaginal ring if you see him or her for any reason.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on August 12, 2014
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