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Public Citizen Jumps on Our Bandwagon – Calls for Ban on Certain Birth Control Pills – What Took You So Long?

The Women’s Health Institute of Texas, under my direction, has been speaking out for quite some time to anyone who would listen about the dangers of birth control pills (BCP’s).  It appears that Public Citizen, a non-partisan consumer advocacy organization, has picked up the trail and is attempting to induce political changes on users of BCP’s.

Public Citizen earlier this week just filed a complaint with the FDA calling for a total ban on “Third Generation” birth control pills.  In a press release yesterday, Public Citizen called for a total ban on a class of BCP’s that contain the synthetic, chemically altered progestin called “desogestrel”.

Desogestrel Doubles the Rate of Blood Clots

They stated that BCP’s containing desogestrel have been shown to cause an incidence of blood clots, including clots in the lungs which are frequently fatal, at twice the rate of prior BCP’s.  This information has been known since 1995.

Designer Birth Control Pills Manipulated over 50 Years

Over the last 50 years, BCP’s have undergone an evolution in chemical makeup and designer alterations to the main components.  The typical Pill contains a synthetic, chemically altered estrogen and another chemically altered progestin.  The estrogen dosages have dropped considerably over the years while the progestin component has seen a variety of chemical substitutions.

In the 1980’s, drug companies introduced “third generation” progestins for the Pill.  These chemicals became the darlings of the industry with names like desogestrel (DSG), gestodine, and norgestimate acetate (NORGac).  Many drug companies manufactured a number of brands using these third generation progestins.  These were supposed to be the panacea for oral contraception in women. 

Blood Clots Occasionally Fatal in Young Women

Early studies following the introduction of third generation progestins within the Pill showed a problematic increase in the risk of blood clots, called venous thrombo-embolism.   Blood clots typically include a clot in the leg veins frequently extending up into the pelvis.  Oftentimes, these clots become dislodged with the clot actually ending up in the lungs for a potentially fatal lung clot.  Many young women under the age of 40 have died as a result of fatal lung clots.

Desogestrel is one of three major progestins of the third generation BCP’s.   Interestingly, desogestrel was the only third generation progestin cited by Public Citizen.  One of the other two remaining third generation progestins, gestodine, was equally implicated along with desogestrel.  But the third one, norgestimate, was shown just last year to be merely equal to the already unacceptable risk of blood clots of BCP’s of previous versions. 

Desogestrel Containing BCP’s are Just the Tip of the Iceberg

And as much as we here at the Women’s Health Institute of Texas appreciate Public Citizen taking a stance, they didn’t go all the way when they have a responsibility to do just that.

Blood clots did not begin with the third generation Pills, however.  They were already a significant problem with the earlier versions as well.  What shocked the industry was the research that actually showed a DOUBLING of the incidence of blood clots with the newer Pills.  As far back as 1995, studies showed this prompting the FDA to issue a warning about blood clots in these drugs. 

Banning BCP’s versus Educating the Public

Again, I welcome Public Citizen’s entrance onto our bandwagon exposing the dangers of birth control pills, I do not necessarily endorse the heavy-handed efforts at a total ban of the Pill.  Government agency bans and confiscations merely assume that women are not smart enough to make their own decisions and it comes across as paternalistic, in my view. 

Educating women on the dangers of the Pill and allowing them to weigh options available to them would be more advantageous, particularly when there is a strategy as outlined on the non-profit organization located at www.DitchThePill.org

“Match the Pill” Strategy Neutralized the Side Effects of BCP’s

I wear many hats.  In addition to being the Medical Director of the Women’s Health Institute of Texas and publishing a treatment cure for migraine headaches, I am also the Chief Medical Advisor to www.DitchThePIll.org .  In conjunction with them, a strategy was devised for those women who would not or could not get off the pill.  This strategy is called “Match the Pill”. 

As much as I dislike the dangers of BCP’s and would, in a perfect world, ask that women not take them at all, many women do appreciate the benefits and conveniences that the Pill offers them.  The “Match the Pill” strategy simply gives women the ability to continue taking the Pill AND take supplemental natural (bio-identical) progesterone on the same days they take the Pill.

Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too!

What the “Match the Pill” strategy accomplishes is by adding the natural progesterone the way mother nature really intended it, not only does this significantly neutralize the side effect risks of BCP’s but also enhances contraception at the same time.  It is like having your cake and eating it at the same time.

You can read more about this clever strategy along with a lot of great information about BCP’s on their website:  www.DitchThePill.org  .

Let’sWelcome Public Citizen to Our Bandwagon

So, to the fine folks at Public Citizen:  Welcome to our bandwagon.  There is room for everyone and we are glad you are aboard. 

Andrew Jones, M.D.
Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas


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