Product News and Recalls

Short-term birth control most likely to fail

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found more U.S. women had unplanned pregnancies while using short-acting birth control methods such as pills, patches and vaginal rings, compared to long-term reversible contraception methods including intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormone shots and skin implants.

According to a Reuters report, the study involved 7,500 women and teens in the St. Louis area.

Among about 1,500 women who chose to use a contraceptive pill, patch or ring, between 4 and 5 percent became pregnant while using those methods each year. In comparison, 0.3 percent of the 5,800 women who opted for an IUD or skin implant had an unplanned pregnancy each year because of contraceptive failure.

According to a story in Time magazine, Yaz became the top-selling birth control pill in the U.S. within two years of its 2006 introduction, in large part because of an advertising blitz by manufacturer Bayer. But prescriptions have fallen off in recent years because of safety concerns about blood clotting that a number of studies have raised about Yaz and other Bayer contraceptives, including Yasmin, Beyaz and Ocella.

Most of the women in the study, who were allowed to pick from a variety of contraception methods at no cost, chose longer-term methods. But IUDs and implants usually cost more than $500 and typically aren’t covered by insurance, which likely serves as a disincentive for many women in the real world.

The study found women under the age of 21 using the short-term contraception methods were most likely to experience an unintended pregnancy. The study, however, apparently did not control for any selection bias because women were allowed to choose the method they used, rather than being randomly assigned.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries resulting from this drug.

See more about the study here: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1110855?query=featured_home