New Birth Control Drugs Tied To Higher Blood Clot Risk: Study

11/08/2011 04:37 pm ET | Updated Jan 08, 2012
  • The Huffington Post

Another big study has established a link between an increased risk of blood clots and newer oral birth control pills that contain drospirenone.

The study, which followed 329,995 women in Israel, found that the risk of blood clots may be more than 40 percent higher for women who take drospirenone-containing birth control medicines, compared with women who take older kinds of birth control, MedPage Today reported. The result comes on the heels of other research also suggesting a link between blood clots and drospirenone-containing birth control pills.

These birth control pills include Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Ocella and Zarah. Click here for the FDA's list of other drospirenone-containing oral birth control pills.

In this new research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers looked at the contraceptive use of the Israeli women, who were between ages 12 and 50, and who started taking the birth control between January 2002 and December 2008. Researchers followed them until 2009.

Among 431,223 total uses by all the women in the study, there were 1,017 blood clots. Researchers found that the women who took drospirenone-containing birth control had a higher risk of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism than women who took other kinds of birth control, according to the study. The risk was highest in the first few months of taking the birth control.

The researchers did not find a link between that particular kind of birth control and stroke, according to the study. The study is new, and has not yet been made available to the public online.

"With the increasing use of drospirenone-containing contraceptives, it is important to raise awareness of the increased, albeit small, risk of venous thromboembolism relative to third-generation pills, especially among those who are older or obese," researchers said.

According to NPR, the FDA will hold a meeting on Dec. 8 to further discuss the safety of this kind of birth control.

"At a certain point we have to ask why the FDA continues to approve drugs that are less safe and have no benefit compared to drugs already on the market," Dr. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Women and Families, told NPR. "With all these different birth control options, why take the most expensive one that can also kill you?"

Previously, the FDA had found that the risk of blood clots from Yaz, a kind of drospirenone-containing birth control pills, is 75 percent higher than older kinds of birth control, CBS News reported. That study involved 800,000 women who took the oral contraceptive between 2001 and 2007.

Additionally, a study in the British Medical Journal showed that women who take these newer kinds of birth control pills may have a doubled risk of developing a venous thromboembolism (blood clot that leads to artery blockage in the lungs), the Canadian Broadcasting Centre reported.