Contraceptive: Prescribed more pills with unknown risk of thrombosis
Over half of the young women in Germany use the contraceptive pill for contraception. However, taking the drug sometimes poses a health risk. According to a current evaluation, doctors prescribe more of the contraceptives for which the risk of thrombosis is not exactly clarified.
Over half of young women use contraception
It is known that birth control pills can often have serious side effects and that hormone-free contraceptive alternatives are also available. Nevertheless, "over half of the young women (53%) in Germany between 14 and 19 years use oral combined contraceptives as contraceptives," reports the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). "Oral contraceptives are also the most common method of contraception for women aged 18 to 49 years." According to the institute, many pills are still prescribed, the risk of thrombosis of which is not exactly clear.
Thrombosis risk due to modern birth control pills
In recent years, health experts have repeatedly pointed to a high risk of thrombosis due to modern contraceptive pills.
With thrombosis, a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a blood vessel - usually in deep leg or pelvic veins. This blood clot narrows or clogs the vessel, which can lead to serious consequential damage.
For example, if parts of the blood clot get loose and get into the lungs, this can cause pulmonary embolism.
Undetected thrombosis quickly becomes a life-threatening condition. In Germany alone, an estimated 100,000 people die as a result of venous thrombosis.
What have the measures brought?
In recent years, various measures have been taken in Germany to educate people about the risk of thrombosis using contraceptives and to minimize it.
For example, Rote-Hand-Briefs were sent to all gynecological and general medical practices together with an information card for the patients and a checklist for the prescription.
In addition, the BfArM has published detailed information on the result of the risk assessment process and the resulting measures on its website.
The BfArM particularly recommends young women and first-time users to use combined hormonal contraceptives (CHD) with the lowest risk of thrombosis.
The institute has now carried out a study to examine what the measures have brought and whether doctors prescribe safer preparations. Regulation behavior was considered before, during and after the risk assessment process.
Prescribed fewer high-risk drugs
As the BfArM reports in the current “Bulletin on drug safety”, the prescriptions for contraceptives, which are known to have the highest risk of thromboembolism, have become less so in young women between ten and 19 years of age.
A decrease of 53 percent was recorded in this age group. Previously, these preparations made up 26 percent of total prescriptions, later only 12 percent.
Data on female SHI insured from the age of 10 to the age of 20 served as data sources for the study.
Data from the health insurance funds are only available for this age group, as contraceptives are no longer reimbursable after the age of 20 by the SHI.
"The population of young women is of particular interest, since young women in particular use CHD for contraception. At the same time, these women are often first-time users, ”says the current bulletin.
And: "Especially in mostly healthy, young women, the risk of thrombosis is easily misunderstood and a diagnosis may be made too late."
More often prescribed drugs with unknown risk
It was also found that doctors prescribed contraceptives of the lowest risk class and preparations with an unknown risk significantly more frequently during the same period.
According to the information, the proportion of pills with an undefined risk rose from 39.5 percent before the reassessment to more than 50 percent recently.
It was surprising that the prescriptions for the pills with an as yet unknown risk rose significantly. As long as no further data on the clear classification of the risk of thrombosis are available, the BfArM does not want to make a recommendation. (ad)