BBC reports, a new study in British Medical Journal indicates that the use of transdermal patches or vaginal rings as contraception over the standard birth-control pill greatly increases a woman’s chance of suffering a blood clot. Previous studies have noted that some of these blood clots can be fatal.
Researchers at University of Copenhagen conducted a one-year review of pregnancies in Denmark. They found that women taking no contraception faced a 2-in-10,000 risk of suffering a blood clot. Taking a contraceptive pill resulted in a 6-in-10,000 risk but the risk factors were significantly higher for women relying on a vaginal ring device like NuvaRing (7.8 per 10,000) or a skin patch (9.7 per 10,000).
After eliminating factors that could increase this risk outside of the impact of the alternative forms of birth control, the study was able to associate use of birth-control pills with a twofold increased risk of blood clots. Vaginal rings pose a 6.5-times greater risk and skin patches present the highest risk of the life-threatening side effect, 9 times greater than using no birth control.
The study worries that many women aren’t presented with the full risk profiles associated with using these forms of birth control. Serious injuries suffered by users of both the NuvaRing and Ortho Evra patch are the basis of a growing number of lawsuits filed in U.S. courts by women claiming their doctors and warning labels do not fully indicate the risks with these contraceptive treatments, often being convinced to use these newer forms of birth control because they’re more convenient or more effective.
NuvaRing is implanted once monthly into the vagina and releases hormones to prevent pregnancies. Use of the NuvaRing device has been associated with numerous side effects reports. Women using NuvaRing have suffered blood clots, stroke, and pulmonary embolism while using the contraceptive devices. Warnings currently included with NuvaRing indicate it only poses risk of headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness.
After much criticism of the Ortho Evra patch, the makers of the contraceptive skin patch admitted that women using it over conventional birth control pills faced a greater risk of blood clots, indicating that it exposes women to 60 percent more estrogen over an oral contraceptive.
“If women still prefer to have a ring or a patch, for example, because they are not able to remember to take the pill daily, then they can continue. That is their own choice. For me, the important thing is that they are informed about the risk,” Professor Oejvind Lidegaard, the lead author of the University of Copenhagen study, told BBC.