The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Contraceptive guidelines may change to fit newer pills

By Kelsey Mobbs/reporter

Millions of women use birth control pills, but according to a recent CBS News article, today’s pills are not as effective as they once were, and the Food and Drug Administration is contemplating setting higher standards for this form of contraceptive.

In briefing documents posted to its Web site, the FDA said newer contraceptives have been less effective—at times, with twice the failure rate—than previous products, most likely because manufacturers are using lower doses of hormones that stop ovulation.

“ In the past, people thought it was the best thing in the world,” NW Campus nurse Shirley McVea said. “I never thought it was safe.”

More than 60 percent of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 use some form of contraception, with 11.6 million choosing birth control pills, according to a 2005 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group.

NE Campus student Megan McKinney said she has depended on birth control for three years.

“ No matter what, I will use the birth control pill because it is still better than nothing” she said.

According to the FDA Web site, scientists disagree over whether there should be a strict limit on the failure rate a drug can have and still be approved.

The FDA is considering requiring manufacturers to include a more representative mix of women in the clinical trials for their new products.

According to a recent USA Today article, companies often exclude from their trials women who smoke, are overweight or have a history of heart problems.

The article states that such an exclusion makes it difficult for scientists to judge the safety and efficacy of the drugs in the real world.

Among women who reported that their pregnancy was because of contraceptive failure, 68 percent defined the pregnancy as unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute Survey.

“ Be proactive on what you’re taking and do the research,” McVea said.

Amy Allina, program director of the National Women’s Health Network, said in a recent USA Today article that the birth control pills today seem to be safe for the majority of women and their health.

“ The first pills were high dose and carried risks of blood clots and cardiovascular problems that would be unacceptable to most women,” she said.

Setting limits on how often birth control pills fail puts newer, low-dose contraceptives off limits to women, the Associated Press reported on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site.

“ I can’t believe that this is happening because I put all my trust in that pill,” McKinney said. “I don’t know if I should.”

The original birth control pills approved in the 1960s allowed less than one pregnancy when taken by 100 women for at least one year according to the FDA Web site. But in the last decade, the government has approved pills allowing more than two pregnancies for every 100 women, according to a CBS News article.

Researching the different contraceptive methods is crucial because knowing how effective each method is could prevent a pregnancy, NE nurse Pat Marling said.

“ You have to weigh your options and measure what you are getting.”

All forms of birth control have pros and cons but non of them protect against sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

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