The Other McCain

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Death by ‘Choice’: Contraceptive Risk Means ‘Safe Sex’ Can Be Deadly

Posted on | March 3, 2014 | 29 Comments

Erika Langhart died after using ‘third generation’ birth control.

It’s perfectly harmless — until it kills you:

What friends of Durango [Colorado] native Erika Langhart seemed to love most about her was her humor.
“She had great stories. Ridiculous things always seemed to happen to her,” said Jessica Knutzon, 24, a fellow American University alumni. . . .
Knutzon, like so many who knew her, described Langhart as witty, jovial and incredibly driven. Tall and poised, she was headed to law school at Georgetown University.
Instead, Langhart died on Nov. 24, 2011, at just 24 years old, and her family is blaming a prescription contraceptive whose potentially deadly side effect they say was not adequately disclosed. . . .
The contraceptive she was using, a Nuvaring, a vaginal ring approved by the FDA in 2002, is known as “third generation” because it contains a different cocktail of hormones than previous formulations and is supposed to have fewer side effects.

Maybe the side effects are “fewer,” but one of them — “an elevated risk of venous thromboembolism, or deep vein blood clots” — is potentially fatal. This touches upon a common-sense criticism of birth control that is not addressed often enough: Birth control pills (and other types of hormone-based contraception) require women to add synthetic hormones to their system in sufficient quantities to alter their normal reproductive function. If a woman only uses the pill for a few months, maybe a year or two, the long-term health impact might be minimal. However, most women who use the pill are on it for many years, and it seems just common sense that altering the body’s natural hormonal balance on a long-term basis by adding artificial hormones could have serious ramifications.

“Experts” may dismiss such concerns, and I don’t have any “scientific research” to offer you, but if a known side effect of “third generation” contraceptives is deadly blood clots, I’ll count that as validating my common-sense hunch. Jill Stanek at LifeNews points to an article in Vanity Fair about Nuvaring:

What were young women being told by their doctors? As part of my reporting, I asked two college students to go to clinics in New York, inquire about using NuvaRing, and detail their families’ histories of heart issues.
Planned Parenthood, with its distribution centers all over the country, has been a target sales market for NuvaRing. At a clinic it operates in Brooklyn, one student mentioned to the attending nurse practitioner that she had Googled NuvaRing and was aware of the lawsuits alleging that it can cause blood clots. “I have a history of heart disease and diabetes in my family,” she said. “You yourself have a history of heart disease?” the nurse practitioner asked. “No, but my father has it. And my mother has type 2 diabetes.”
Both facts were indicators of potential problems, but the nurse practitioner did not seem to be alarmed. “Then no. NuvaRing is safe for healthy young women. . . . Of course, with all birth-control methods, there are side effects. . . . Would you like to try it?”

Read the whole thing, including the kicker quote by the lawyer for plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Nuvaring: “I called my daughters and said, ‘Do not ever use any third- or fourth-generation birth control. It could kill you.’”

 

 


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Comments

  • Julie Pascal

    Any medicine has some risk and the risk may be dire. Pregnancy has risk, too. (Just putting that out there because someone will.)

    But it seems to me that people pushing hormone based contraceptives are making risk choices for others… increased risk of some sorts of cancer, for example, or other medical risks… Common sense says that if I take enough hormones to disrupt my normal physical function, that this is a *lot* of hormones. Any medicine strong enough to cure you is strong enough to go through and affect every part of your body. Even if you’re taking tylenol or advil… What do people think drugs do? Go directly to some special part of you and touch nothing else?

    That’s not saying we shouldn’t use medicine or shouldn’t use “the pill” but anyone who says these aren’t monsters tromping around in your system is trying to sell you something. I quit with hormones as soon as I could… had my kids… and then we, between us, took a surgical solution so I’m not spending half my life putting that stuff in my body. I cringe to think what we’ll find out the Plan B type pills do over the long haul and repeated use.

  • RS

    Hey, but the good news is, it’s free and businesses and insurers have to pay for it!

  • Mike G.

    An aspirin is still the best form of birth control. /snarc

    Seriously though, the best form of birth control is abstinence before marriage.

  • Rain

    it never ceases to amaze me how certain people go on and on about how un-healthy all the “artificial” hormones are in meat, dairy etc etc and yet daily swallow or monthly inject massive amounts of “artificial” hormones without batting an eye… O.o

    on another note, I imagine the family will sue the pants off the producer of the product, for making it and NOT the doctor who prescribed it for her without making sure she was aware of the risks…

  • Kirby McCain

    Yeah, the health risks of keeping your panties on?

  • RKae

    It gets even stranger in many cases: There are people who will tell you it’s “unnatural” to deny your sexual impulses, because “You can’t stifle nature”… and then they get pregnant and slaughter the baby in the womb. Man! Talk about nature being stifled while it’s trying to happen!

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    Most widely used drugs like the statins (Lipicor etc) or Prilosec are carefully tracked over the years, but political considerations evidently kept birth control drugs away from scrutiny.

    The human body is a complex system. Altering a component like hormone production is bound to have unforeseen consequences. We hear over the years that women are becoming more susceptible to heart attack and stroke, but no cause is cited. I’m not saying birth control hormones are a contributor, but vascular problems are one of the biggest side effects they do advise about.

  • RKae

    Well, then, let’s make sure Sandra Fluke gets one!

  • DaTechGuy on DaRadio

    I wonder how many women who use these synthetic hormones are libs who decry “frankenfood” genetically modified foods as dangerous?

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    No, they’ll sue the doctor, too, because they’ll sue everybody.

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    Since artificial contraception carries with it potential health risks, the obvious solution is to simply eschew PIV sex — which is, as we all know, rape — and become a full-fledged lesbian socialist feminist!

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    Would it be wrong of me to suggest that at least she only killed herself, rather than an unborn child?

    OK, OK, I denounce myself, I heartily denounce myself!

  • Pingback: DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Death by ‘Choice’: Contraceptive Risk Means ‘Safe Sex’ Can Be Deadly

  • Jeanette Victoria

    Folks need to track the rise in breast cancer and the use of hormonal contraception Another lie that liberals like to promote that the birth control pill is safe

  • Quartermaster

    I join the denouncement. Why let a good oppo go to waste?

  • Quartermaster

    If applied correctly, aspirin is 100% effective as birth control. It’s kinda hard to get into trouble when you are holding that aspirin with your knees.

  • NCMountainGirl

    Starting around a decade ago and running for a couple of years the ad wells around some TV shows seemed to be filled with some expensive, very high production value TV commercials promoting the oral contraceptives Yasmin, Yaz and Ocello (based on drospirenone). These pills were not only said to have fewer problem than other birth control pills, they were promoted as helping relieve acne and the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. In 2008, the FDA forced the maker of these drugs, Bayer, to air commercials clarifying drospirenone’s approved uses.

    By 2012 the airwaves were full of very low production value ads by trial lawyers trolling for clients for class action suits involving the sometimes fatal side effects of having used Yasmin, Yaz and Ocello.

    While the risks are still fairly low- say 27 out of 10,000 per year at the high end of the range, that is still rough on the 27 young women who develop problems. One particularly sad case involved a women who switched to one of these contraceptive drugs before her wedding because of the promised benefit of reducing acne and who died of heart failure as a result.

  • http://www.journal14.com/ Dana

    How many denunciations can I get for my comment? C’mon guys, you can do it!

  • Pingback: @RonanFarrow, ‘Reluctant’ TV Star, May Be Right… | Regular Right Guy

  • Mike G.

    Bingo!

  • Quartermaster

    Looks like we gots us a buncha girly men that can’t bring themselves to perform a proper denunciation.

  • Käthe

    I was a young woman right in the target demographic at the time and I remember being weirded out by those commercials because they were so transparently selling a *lifestyle* and image not just a drug to perform a utilitarian healthcare task for you. I wasn’t religious or conservative at all at the time either, it just creeped me out. All these women in glitzy clubs with expensive martinis and expensive resorts, hanging out together with not a man in sight, weirdly…clearly they were selling the idea of completely unattached “hook up” sex, too. Then you hear the auctioneer-speed rattling off of side effects and it’s extra creepy.

  • librarygryffon

    In addition to family histories, any woman who has the Factor V leiden mutation (as well as a few other genetic oddities) shouldn’t use oral contraceptives at all. The current data suggest that about 5% of those with European ancestory have this mutation; it’s much less common in other ethnicities.

    In someone with normal clotting, oral contraceptives raise the risk of stroke/blood clots by about 4. Someone with a thrombophilia already has a higher risk than that, so on OCPs the risk, depending on which gene mutation and whether she has one or both copies mutated is from about 30 to over 100 times greater than a woman with normal clotting who isn’t on the pill.

    I was lucky; at 40 I had the equivalent of a stroke in my left retina, (a branch retinal vein occlusion) far enough out that it didn’t affect my vision, but it happened right before my annual eye exam so my optometrist caught it, sent me to ophthalmology, who then had me get a cardiac workup. According to my ophthalmologist, he’d only ever seen a BRVO in one other patient under the age of 60, another woman on the pill.

  • Zohydro

    Another common off-label use of OC’s is suppression of menstruation…

  • Zohydro

    I suppose that mob would protest the use of “PDE5 inhibitors” (Viagra®, etc.) as well were it not for their widespread use amongst aficionados of PIA sex…

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Hah! I denounce you both!

    And myself, for good measure.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    I’m pretty sure the “knees together” thing is totally do-able.

    But self control is really the issue. She has to control herself.

    And the guy. Because hetero- …uhh heternorman- …uhh
    us sexist pigs can’t be bother- …I mean counted on to control ourselves. We have women to do that.

  • librarygryffon

    The pill acts by making your body think it’s pregnant. The week worth of placebo pills is to end the pregnancy, causing menstruation, so you can start all over again.

    I wonder if it’s actually less stress on the body to do that less frequently; I’d think that fooling your system into thinking it’s miscarried every four weeks could have some even more unfortunate long-term effects.

  • Zohydro

    There are pro’s and con’s to doing this… There does not appear to be any major risks for the women who do this, and many women do so for years without problems. Curiously, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists remains officially silent on the issue–neither endorsing or discouraging the practice… Opinions about it vary amongst physicians, and many women do it anyway without medical supervision! This probably isn’t very wise…