FDA Says Birth Control Pills May Not Be As Effective As They Once Were - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/23/07-Longview

FDA Says Birth Control Pills May Not Be As Effective As They Once Were

Attention Women: your birth control pills may not be working as well as you think they should.   The FDA says newer birth control pills appear to be less effective than those approved decades ago. So, this week, the FDA is asking a panel of experts whether it should require new contraceptive drugs to meet higher standards.

Katrina Wilson, 30, has been taking birth control pills for 15 years now, but new statistics released by the FDA have her worried. They show, right now, there's an increased risk in unwanted pregnancies for women taking the pill.

"That makes me feel like that I'm going to be at risk at getting pregnant and having a baby and that's not what I want right now for my life, I have two kids and I'm kind of stable right now, trying to do something to further myself," she says.

The FDA says newer contraceptives can sometimes have twice the failure rate as previous products, most likely because manufacturers have started using lower doses of hormones that stop ovulation, namely estrogen. Dr. David Doerrfeld, an Ob/Gyn at Good Shepherd Medical Center, disagrees with the findings. 

"I think that we're going to find in reality that lower dose isn't going to make a difference in regards to pregnancies because it's the progestin in the pill itself that's going to prevent the pregnancies. The estrogen that's in a birth control pill is mainly there to stabilize the lining so that you don't have break through bleeding and you're able to have regular cycles on a monthly basis," he says.

The FDA will now decide whether the benefit of improved safety, outweighs a slightly increased risk of unwanted pregnancies. Most women we spoke with believe it does.

"If I'm not going to have more problems like blood clots later on then I might be willing to take a little more of a chance that way and pregnancy ain't the worst thing that can happen to you," says Annie Jones, who also takes birth control.

Doctor Doerrfeld says human error is most likely to blame for the slight increase in unwanted pregnancies. He reminds all women on the pill to take it everyday, at the same time, for it to be effective.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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