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More Evidence Shows Newer Forms of 'Pill' Raise Clot Risk, FDA Says
Date:10/28/2011

THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it "remains concerned" that a newer generation of birth control pills may raise the odds for serious blood clots more than older forms of the Pill.

The announcement concerns oral contraceptives containing a newer type of progestin hormone called drospirenone, which includes Bayer's Yaz or Yasmin. According to the FDA, the new study found a higher risk of venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) -- potentially dangerous clots -- in women on the drospirenone-containing pills vs. those on older forms of oral contraceptives.

The FDA-funded review involved the medical histories of more than 800,000 American women, all of whom were on some type of birth control between 2001 and 2008. The study found that women taking the newer oral contraceptives experienced a higher rate of clots than women on older forms of the contraceptive pill.

The review also found that women on two other forms of birth control -- the Ortho Evra patch from Johnson & Johnson and the NuvaRing vaginal ring from Merck -- had a higher rate of clots.

For now, the FDA is not advising that most women switch to another form of contraception. "If your birth control pill contains drospirenone, do not stop taking it without first talking to your health care professional," the agency said. "Contact your health care professional immediately if you develop any symptoms of blood clots, including persistent leg pain, severe chest pain or sudden shortness of breath. If you smoke and are over 35 years of age, you should not take combination oral contraceptives because they increase the risk that you could experience serious cardiovascular events, including blood clots."

Thursday's announcement was not the FDA's first word on this issue, nor is likely to be the last. The agency issued a similar warning in September, and in a statement released Thursday said that, "given the co
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