Product News and Recalls

Surgeon General issues ‘Call to Action’ on blood clots

The Surgeon General has issued an official “Call to Action” to reduce the number of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in the United States.

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein — most commonly in the lower leg or thigh — that can block blood flow and cause pain, swelling, and skin discoloration.

But it can turn deadly when deep vein thrombosis develops into pulmonary embolism. That condition occurs when part of the blood clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. It can block a lung artery, causing damage to the lungs or other organs from lack of oxygen.

A news release from the Surgeon General’s office notes that deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism usually develops in people who have an inherited blood clotting disorder or other risk factor, or who experience a triggering event.

Those risk factors include long periods of physical inactivity such as an extended airplane flight or hospitalization, suffering a trauma, smoking, pregnancy and use of birth control pills.

While most birth control pills can increase the risk of potentially deadly blood clots, a number of studies indicate that pills with the synthetic hormone drospirenone can increase that risk up to three times compared to other oral contraceptives on the market.

Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

The acting Surgeon General at the time the Call to Action was issued, Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., urged all Americans to learn about and prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. These treatable conditions affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans and contribute to at least 10,000 deaths each year.

The news release says those numbers are expected to increase as the U.S. population ages.

The Call to Action urges a coordinated, multifaceted plan to reduce the number of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism nationwide, and emphasizes the need for:

  • Increased awareness about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
  • Evidence-based practices for deep vein thrombosis.
  • More research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of deep vein thrombosis.

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 while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/2008/09/pr20080915.html