Media hype blood clot risk of birth control pills

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Media hype blood clot risk of birth control pills

“Deadly risk of pill used by 1m women: Every GP in Britain told to warn about threat from popular contraceptive,” reports the Mail Online.

Combined hormonal contraceptives (or “the pill”) are in the news after letters were sent to doctors to tell them about the latest evidence on the risk of thromboembolism (blood clots) associated with combined contraceptives.

Unfortunately, most of the UK media overhyped the potential risk in their reporting. The Mail’s panic-maximising implication that 1 million women could be at risk doesn’t reflect the reality that only around 12 women per 10,000 taking combined contraceptives are thought to be at risk of having a blood clot in any given year.

The review reinforces the importance that women using combined contraceptives get clear, up-to-date information on the risks and benefits. Importantly, the review found that the benefits of any combined contraceptives far outweigh the risk of serious side effects, and that women who have been using them without any problems do not need to stop.

As Dr Sarah Branch of the MHRA, said: “Women should continue to take their contraceptive pill. These are very safe, highly effective medicines for preventing unintended pregnancy and the benefits associated with their use far outweigh the risk of blood clots in veins or arteries.

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