Discovery of the birth control pill in 1960 revolutionized the concept of contraception. According to the study conducted at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite the availability of various birth control methods, half of pregnancies in the country are unwanted and even more than in any other developed country. What’s the reason for this!
According to a recent study every 3rd women who commences a new birth control option stop within a year only because of changes in their insurance coverage. Each and every method have some or the other side effects. The current methods of intrauterine devices (IUD’s) which are even more perfect and efficient are not used widely only because of lack of trained doctors in inserting them.
According to Dr. Nancy Padian, an epidemiologist specialized in reproductive health and H.I.V. prevention at the University of California, San Francisco said “Adherence is a huge issue and the significant effect of a product will be obtained only if it is used very consistently”.
Today many birth control manufactures and doctors are promoting non-contraceptive benefits of contraception as it reduces the risk of cancer, improving health of mothers, enhancing complexion, etc but the main reason which can be their is to make profits through their product promotion or services respectively.
Now a days many formulations of hormonal contraceptives are available in the market like pills, skin patches, implants, IUDs, vaginal rings, etc which contains artificially generated estrogen and progestin in variety of combinations. These combinations are very much helpful in reducing the risk of certain diseases like osteoporosis, endometrial and ovarian cancer, and getting a chance to become healthy for those who are active smokers, etc and many more.
According to Dr. Anita L. Nelson, director of women’s reproductive health at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Los Angeles said that “For a lady who is a diabetic patient got pregnant than there is a high risk of heart and neurological problems in the baby”. Also those getting pregnant in early age are also at a very high risk of pre-eclampsia and premature births and also in early age we can’t provide good prenatal care.
Today many market preparations are also coming which claiming for following benefit :-(1) Yaz: – It claims for beautiful skin and relief from premenstrual bloating and mood swings.
(2) Loestrin 24 Fe: – It includes iron as a supplement.
(3) Lybrel: – It claims to eliminate menstruation altogether, thus helping to those who suffer from severe cramping and bleeding, anemia, mood swings and migraines.
(4) Seasonale and Seasonique: – These oral contraceptives claims to reduce menstrual cycles to three and four times a year.
Some formulations like “no-bleed” pills which were introduced 47 years ago are other forms of pills acting indirectly to suppress ovulation and thus in turn stop menstruation as both phenomenons are inter-related.
Another form of contraceptive approach decided by manufactures is to include a week of placebos (fake drug) in 28-day pack to create a fake period in the menstrual cycle of 21 days. This approach was totally of marketing in nature. Many women were found to controlling their periods even by skipping the placebos from the pack and consuming real pills continuously.
Today’s efficiency and effect of the “no-bleed” or “extended regimen” pills and original pills on health are debatable as in earlier times women used to spend much more time either pregnant or nursing without menstrual periods. In such cases effect of absence of menstrual period on a women’s health is still not known.
In the clinical trial conducted by Wyeth for the approval of the drug Lybrel by Food and Drug Administration many women were dropped out because of breakthrough bleeding and about 40% of the participants were found to have breakthrough bleeding even after a year of use. So Wyeth is also recommending for pregnancy test before starting the consumption of the drug for its success in controlling pregnancy.
According to Dr. Susan Wood, professor of public health at George Washington University demanded for the study of long term safety of contraceptives. She resigned from her post only because of the delayed approval of Plan B by the Food and Drug Administration’s assistant commissioner for women’s health. The emergency contraceptive drug is now available as OTC drug only for those who are 18 years of age or above.
The basic reason for the designing of Plan B is to prevent conception if consumed within 3 days of unprotected sex with the partner. According to research conducted by IMS Health company sales of Plan B are booming even without a non-contraceptive advantage.
The every new products launched are only a variation of the older product. The reason for lack of interest in developing an entirely different contraceptive method is that there is a danger of vanishing of huge profits earned by the manufactures.
According to Dr. James Strauss, co-chairman of a national committee on contraception research and now dean of medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University, “Holy grail is a drug which specifically act on the ovaries and testes and it also has no side effect on any other organ system. There is a need to do some more research on the genes responsible for reproduction process for developing a method totally free from side-effects.