Birth Control Drugs
Birth control drugs, also known as oral contraceptives or hormonal contraceptives, have been used by women to control their fertility since the 1960s. Emergency contraceptive pill, or ECP, also known as the morning-after pill, has been in use for the last decade. These drugs are widely used. Because the pool of users is so large, trends and patterns of adverse side effects have been established during the public’s exposure to these potent medications. As new drugs and delivery systems are developed, new patterns emerge.
Use of hormonal birth control drugs has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, especially in younger women. Extensive medical studies have been conducted to determine the level of breast cancer risk and its incidence. Scientific literature generally agrees that the risk is ongoing while oral birth control is taken as prescribed, and that the drug’s effects can last for up to ten years after use is discontinued.
Likewise, according to the National Cancer Institute, the use of prescription birth control is linked to increased incidence of benign liver tumors. The link to malignant liver tumors is not as well established and it is still be studied.
Every human body naturally contains progesterone and estrogen. In women, these hormones regulate the fertility cycle. Individual genetics determines how our bodies use and assimilate the hormones our bodies produce. Birth control drugs are potentially dangerous because they modify the body’s natural processes encoded in DNA.
Newer birth control drugs such as Yaz, Nuvaring, and the Ortho Evra patch utilize another hormone, drospirenone which has been linked to increased blood clot formation. These are not clots associated with natural menstruation, but clots that form internally and can cause a venous thromboembolism. These clots travel though the bloodstream and can lodge in important organs, flooding tissues with an oversupply of blood. When an embolus lodges in the brain, it can cause a stroke. When in the heart, it can cause a heart attack.
While birth control drugs have been used for decades, not all of their effects are fully understood. Trends have been identified, but mitigating factors and lifestyle choices affect the statistical outcomes. One thing is sure, and that is that birth control drugs can be dangerous to women, even if used as prescribed. Common side effects such as increased acne, mood swings, and decreased libido are not life threatening, but increased chances of breast cancer and thromboembolism are.
Any woman who suffers from suspected adverse side affects related to her use of birth control drugs should consult her physician as well as contact a reliable medical injury attorney. Medical injury lawyers specialize in dangerous drug cases, as well as liability issues as they relate to which party is responsible for a given drug’s adverse effects. Drugs are meant to heal, not hurt. When dangerous drugs have negative side effects, the patient’s quality of life suffers. It is not their fault. It is a medical injury lawyer’s role to pursue appropriate legal relief an compensation for injuries suffered.
A legal team trained in medical injury and liability is conversant in the applicable issues. If one person suffers from adverse birth control drug complications, others have also, and an experienced legal team can review previous cases, relevant studies, and determine if their client should pursue court action. In some cases a class action suit may be recommended. In other cases, it may be that a prescribing physician neglected evidence that a specific birth control drug was dangerous to his or her patient. This can result in a malpractice suit and settlement. A pharmacy may misread a prescription and provide the wrong medication or the wrong dose to a patient, causing adverse reactions. Criminal negligence may be the fault of an individual pharmacist, or of his or her employer.
A qualified legal team will be able to review the records, question all parties, and determine the best course of action for a woman who suffers damage due to prescribed birth control drug complications. Vigorous prosecution of wrongs will ensure that victims of dangerous birth control drug complications will receive their due and, hopefully, that these complications will not occur in the future.