Today's Risks for the Birth Control Pill

Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP, discusses Today's Risks for the Birth Control Pill.

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Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP, discusses Today's Risks for the Birth Control Pill.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP Today's Risks for the Birth Control Pill | Video Title:

Duration: 2 minutes, 26 seconds

Women often have questions about risk of birth control pills.

Whenever we start new medication we always consider the risk and the benefit. And in Canada we have guidelines from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that came out in December 2010 that gave doctors across the country information on how to make that decision, but these guidelines are very similar to other American guidelines and around the world the World Health Organization guidelines for birth control pill risk and benefit.

What we know is that risk is very low and risk is considered very rare but the concerns we have are risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Historically the pill was much higher in estrogen in the 50s and 60s, and so our mothers and grandmothers were at much greater risk for stroke and blood clots related to birth control pills.

The pills on the market today, in 2000 - since 2000, 2010, are much lower in dose of estrogens and that decreases the risk so the risk is considered very rare. However, we know that it’s very important to evaluate risk in individuals and when we look at the data, when we compare info on one pill to another, info on pills today compare to 10 years ago, it’s important that the data be equitable in terms of the other risk factors.

For example, it makes a big difference if one group is a smoking group and one group is a non-smoking group, no matter which pill we’re taking about. So when we look at data we have to look at whether the different groups are equitable.

In terms of smoking, family history, age, weight, all of these factors are important when we’re looking at rare risk. We can be reassured and the SOGC has reassured us that no matter which pill we take the risk is very rare to have a serious side effect.

When we talk about risk we have to remember that it’s different for every person as an individual. You should consult your doctor or your primary care provider to look at what your risk is.

Video filmed in conjunction with Dr Vivien Brown and HelthChoicesFirst.

Presenter: Dr. Vivien Brown, Family Doctor, Toronto, ON

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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