Home | About Us | FAQs | Dr. Jones Blog | Contact Us | Newsletter

Archive for January, 2007

Trial Lawyers Suing Birth Control Pill Manufacturer

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Now the trial lawyers are jumping on the bandwagon.� I just happened to see an advertisement in the local newspaper by an attorney soliciting clients for his lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the company that manufactures the Ortho Evra Patch.

�It appears that a recent study showed that the incidence of blood clots relating to the Ortho Evra Patch was twice as a high as the “usual” rate found in oral contraceptives.� Therefore the trial lawyers are all over Johnson & Johnson for this.

For the record, I have no connection with any trial lawyer regarding this lawsuit.� Nor am I condoning this strategy.� But when the lawyers get into it, blood usually follows.

I don’t know about the lawyer part of all this, but from the doctor’s perspective, ALL birth contol pills or patches carry significant risks.� One of those known risks is (in my mind) an unacceptably high incidence of blood clots - whether taken as a pill or as a patch.

It gets worse.� The newer generation birth control pills (BCP’s) have a much higher incidence of blood clots that the older versions from 20 - 30 years ago.

What kind of blood clots are we talking about?� There are two main types of blood clots caused by BCP’s.� The fancy name is “non-fatal thrombo-embolism” (NFTE), also known as deep venous thrombosis and what the rest of the world�calls clots in the calves.

The other area of blood clots is found in the lungs, called a pulmonary embolus.� Most likely the lung clot actually originated in the leg and flipped off the leg vein and travels through the venous system until it ends up literally stuck in the lung.� This is very serious and people die from this.

Blood clots in the leg, though usually not fatal, are a significant hassle because it usually results in a hospitalization to prevent the clot from going to the lungs and then ending up treating with blood thinner medications for the next 9 - 12 months.� Not to mention that once you get a blood clot from BCP’s, you can forget about using them for the rest of your life.

There is one other nasty clotting complication from BCP’s - strokes.� This is on the arterial side and not from a vein clot.� It really hits you whenever you see a 20-something year old woman using a walker from a stroke caused by her oral contraceptives that she used to take.� Very sad.

As a specialist in migraine headaches, one of the major complaints I have against BCP’s is that they make migraines worse in the women that take them.� Or they just cause migraines for the first time for those women.

When women who take the Pill finally figure out that their migraines were caused by it, or made worse by it, they discover they can’t get rid of the migraines even after stopping the Pill.� This is where the Women’s Health Institute of Texas comes in as we have a treatment program that enables women to eliminate their migraines even if they have been exposed to BCP’s in the past.

Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas


Folate Levels in Young Women Falling

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced last week that blood levels of folate are dropping in young women.� This can lead to increased birth defects involving the spinal cord and nervous system, particularly a condition called “neural tube defects”.

Folate, also known as vitamin B-9, comes in different forms such as folic acid.

Government officials are only speculating on the cause of the backslide.� There has been a push on the govenment level for many years encouraging women to eat cereals and breads fortified with folic acid, which is a derivative of folate.� Perhaps the low carb diets which reduce the amounts of cereals and breads are contributing.� No one knows at this point.

The CDC says that blood levels of folate have declined anywhere from 8% to 16% in women of childbearing age.� The study was based on national survey involving abaout 4500 women.

Of course, cereals and breads are not the only source of folate.� Leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), fruits (especially citrus fruits) and dried beans and peas are excellent natural sources of folate.

One of the simplest methods of folate supplementation is taking folic acid dietary supplements.� Taking 400 mcg per day should be sufficient even in the worst dietary conditions.� Women should also be taking folate supplements long before they plan on getting pregnant (if possible) to alleviate any deficiency for the baby.�

Unfortunately, mainstream medicine, as a rule is hostile to people taking vitamin or dietary supplements.� Medical journals routinely discourage vitamin supplementation.� However, many OB-Gyns do still recommend folic acid supplementation during pregnancy despite the medical establishment’s ridicule of such use.

At the Women’s Health Institute of Texas, we are adamant on encouraging women (and men) to take vitamins and other dietary supplements.� Not only do we encourage folic acid supplementation, but also significant multi-vitamins (particularly the B and C vitamins), fish oil, various minerals including calcium and magnesium, and many more.

Andrew Jones, M.D.

Medical Director, Women’s Health Institute of Texas