WOMEN: Top 10 Dangerous Side Effects from Common Birth Controls

Monday, October 20, 2014

Contraceptive methods are a uniquely personal choice for women. After testing different brands for compatibility and side effects, most become fiercely loyal to their favorite.

Although the use of patches, rings, IUDs and injections is on the rise in the past decade, the traditional birth control pill is still the most common form of prescription birth control. However, these come with risks.

We’ve all seen the charming ads showing how a pill will make your life easier. But have you actually read the fine print or listened to that quick lawyer-esque talk at the end? It can be scary!

Here, DrugNews has assembled a list of the top 10 most common side effects reported for the most popular birth control brands. We combed data from the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Events Reporting System (AERS) to let you know what risks are out there.

While the actual occurrence rate for these side effects is low, it is still smart to know your risks and talk with your doctor immediately if you have any concerns.

  1. Pulmonary Embolism – this dangerous condition occurs when a blood clot breaks free and travels into the lungs, where it blocks oxygen. Can cause long-term injury or even death
  2. Metrorrhagia (bleeding between periods)
  3. Unintended pregnancy – most birth control pills have a failure rate of around 8%.
  4. Thrombosis – blood clots caused by added potassium levels in the blood can form in the veins of the arms, legs or abdomen. Can cause tissue and organ damage, as well as heart attack and stroke.
  5. Breast cancer
  6. Heavy menstrual bleeding
  7. Headaches
  8. Gallbladder disorder
  9. Depression
  10. Nausea/vomiting/dizziness/fainting

It is also important to remember that no birth control pill protects against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

While oral contraceptives carry many risks, they are still among the safest and most reliable forms of pregnancy prevention. Before making any changes to your medication regimen, talk with your doctor.

For more information on drug side effects, research and news, contact DrugNews.



FDA MedWatch (October 17, 2014). Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

DrugCite FDA Reporting Interface. (October 17, 2014). Retrieved from: http://www.drugcite.com/druglist.php


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