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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
Attorney • (215) 840-6573

Is the Newest Always the Best Form of Birth Control?

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When it comes to the tablet computers or cell phones, newer may be better. However, that may not be true for birth control.

Oral contraceptives have been available in the United States since the 1960s. Since then drug manufacturers have developed “new generation” birth control pills and other forms of hormonal contraceptives. The first significant improvement came in the 1970s with what is now known as the second generation birth control pills. These pills used a different type of progestin and a lower dose of estrogen than the first generation pills.

Second Generation Pills May Still be the Safer Option

The third and fourth generation birth control pills and other forms of birth contro,l such as vaginal rings and transdermal patches, do not necessarily improve a woman’s chances of preventing pregnancy and may increase the risk of serious side effects. For example, research has shown an increased risk of dangerous blood clots, or vein thrombosis, with birth control pills such as Ortho Evra, Yasmin, and Yaz, and with transdermal patches and vaginal rings, such as Nuva Ring. Other methods of birth control, such as the Depo Provera shot have also resulted in health problems not seen with second generation pills.

Why then do Drug Companies Continue to Make New Forms of Birth Control?

Unfortunately, the answer may be profit. As the patents on older drugs expire, drug manufacturers are motivated to develop new products to keep up revenue, though the new products may not provide increased health protections for women. No one disputes the right of pharmaceutical companies to make money or to develop new products, but should it occur at the expense of women’s health? If the second generation birth control pills work well and aren’t broken then would you be comfortable taking a newer type of contraceptive that may carry greater risks?

See FDA-Reports.com for statistics on NuvaRing side effects.