Discussion in 'Contraception' started by NaturalWoman, Mar 20, 2006.
Ladies, we can report our side effect to the FDA at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html
the link didn't work for me...I think it's because there's a period right after the "html". This one should work: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html
Thanks for posting this. We should flood them with information, too.
I know it's starting to get crowded up here, but this one's too important not to be a feature topic. The second link does indeed work. So should the first, now that I edited out the period. I just made my report, and it feels so good to have finally done something about it! Four and a half years later may be late, but better than never!
Please, girls, if you've had an adverse reaction to birth control, report it to the FDA! The truth needs to get out.
They'd probably just say it all in our heads but I guess it is worth a shot.
This is my first post here, but I've been reading for a few months or so. I have suffered with the same awful side effects that you ladies have listed in the other threads. You all gave me the strength and support to stop taking bcp and you didn't even know it until now . It has been three weeks, and it's touch and go. Some days great... some days absolutely terrible.
I haven't posted my personal experience anywhere on the boards, but I will cut and paste my report to the FDA below... yes... I entered it in this morning. I decided to help in this fight instead of reading along and nodding my head with every sentence you girls write.
Thank you with all of my heart.
I began taking oral contraceptives when I was 21yrs of age. I was placed on Ortho Novum 777 by a nurse at Student Health when in college. It was a few months into taking the medication when I began to have crippling migraines. They would come in waves and I would black out during the episodes. My mother rushed me to the emergency room during one episode when I thought my blood vessels in my head were going to rupture. Sure enough... diagnosis... get off of Ortho Novum immediately. The doctor said that I could have had a stroke - at 21.
My mother scheduled me for an OB/GYN visit following this event. I was then placed on Mircette, an oral contraceptive with a lower dose of hormones. The doctor had given me at least six months of free samples. It took some time to adjust, having sporadic migraines, then I seemed to be okay on this particular pill. When I was finished with the free samples, I had to get my prescription filled at the pharmacy. They replaced Mircette with the generic form of what I believe was Kariva. After a few months on Kariva, now around 25 years old, out of the blue - one particular night - I woke up completely frightened feeling like I was being suffocated. This is when my nightmare began. It was an awful anxiety attack which triggered an asthma attack. My body continued to involuntarily swallow making it almost impossible to get air in. I was in such a panic. I thought I was going to die. I could not stop myself from swallowing. My throat got drier and drier with each swallow. After about 10 minutes of this struggle, I tried to drink water, get fresh air by the window, and calm myself down. Then my entire body began to shake as every muscle spasmed out of control for 15 minutes or so. Finally, I was left completely exhausted and fell back to sleep.
I say this is where my nightmare began because it was the first episode of many to come. I had never experienced anything like that before. I have never been on any other medications, nor did I ever suffer from anxiety disorder or depression. I am otherwise a healthy, young, extremely fit, and athletic individual. Why was I feeling so sick with so many different symptoms so much of the time? I was on a mission for 3 years trying to find out what was wrong with me. I had Doctor appointments, blood work done, hormone levels checked, etc. I tested to be a perfectly healthy young lady with the exception of hypoglycemia.
I am now 29. I switched from Kariva to Ortho-Tri Cyclen, to Ortho-Tri Cyclen Lo, to EstroStep, to LoEstrin... each coming with its own crippling side effects. It had taken years of suffering with anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, digestive disorders, low blood sugar, steep retinas, dizziness, nausea, amenorrhea (absence of period), social anxiety, kidney stones, abdominal pain, no libido, aggressive behavior, crying jags, and so much more to finally make the connection that my birth control pill was causing all of this. Doctors did not warn me, nor do they acknowledge that this is a possibility.
Now, it has been three weeks since I've taken myself off of these pills, and I have had hideous withdrawal symptoms ever since. Heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, amenorrhea, headaches, uncontrollable nausea and dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, digestive issues, jitters, and so forth. I am at a loss. I have given up much of my young life battling this unknown monster. I am uncertain whether or not I will ever get back to a healthy state. And I would certainly be devastated if this horrible drug has caused permanent damage.
I ask with all sincerity that you take this report to heart and take a closer look at the oral contraceptive drug industry. It has robbed many women of many things and many don't make the connection.
If we all make the reports and they do indeed say that, it won't be our fault. If we don't report our side effects, we're contributing to the myth that the Pill is no more dangerous than aspirin.
Better to speak up, whether they listen or not, than not speak up at all. And, the more of us speak up, the more likely they are to listen, even if they don't want to at first.
I would tell the FDA what happened, but somehow I don't think it would mean anything to them considering I'm not American.
Moirae, good point. On the one hand, your information might be relevant if you took FDA approved pills. On the other hand, it would carry more weight if you report it to your own country's equivalent of the FDA.
If anyone wants to take this on, it would be useful to add links to the equivalent agencies in other countries to this thread. Assuming, that is, that they also have a way for consumers to report adverse effects. It would be great to see the links for Canada, Australia, Britain, and New Zealand up here, as well as anywhere else people are posting from. I'm getting busier than I have been, so probably won't have the online time to do it myself--does anyone else?
Thanks for catching my typo Kawaii and GreenTea Moirae, as I read through some of the FDA website, my impression is that they are more concerned with where the manufacturer of the drug is based than with your foreign nationality. If you are taking a foreign version of an American drug, I believe they will want your report.
Falcon, SO so glad you found us and that you were able to get off the pill. Hurray for you!... and thank your for sharing with us. Eating right, exercising and staying away from chemicals will help you as you heal - I know from other women's posts here that the "withdrawal" period is tough and very common - GreenTea knows about that - Check out the thread, "Please share your withdrawl symptoms after BC?" We're rooting for you.
I'm 30 years old and have been on BCPs for about 10 years now. I started to have problems sleeping probably 3 years after being on the pill. I have a very hard time falling asleep and normally I wake up not feeling well at all. I get tired during the day at work and I'm wondering if it is tryely from the BCPs? My sex drive has also slumped to an all time low to the point my husband has to beg for sex. These things may not be due to the pill, but I don't know for sure since I've never been off of them. I've never discussed any of these things with my Dr. for the fact of being embarassed. I've been on different pills and I am currently on ortho-tricylen lo which I have just started using this month. Now I'm feeling very stressed and I am having on and off heart palpitations for about 2 days. I'm really considering going off the pill for good to see if anything changes. I've been dealing with these things for so long and I can't take it anymore! I agree that more research needs to be done about whether or not birth control pills cause depression. Maybe, they don't cause it but just aggrevate it making it more noticable?
NaturalWoman - Thank you bunches!!!
Your encouragement means more than you know. It has been a difficult time, but this message board has been such a wonderful support system.
I've started eating lots of oraganics and I just got back into my Billy Blank's TaeBo DVD's. I am feeling more in control and more in touch with myself than I have in a long time.
Bless you all.
merebear - We have a really similar story (you may have read it above). I am 29 and have a 9 year history with bcp. I felt all of the same things you are feeling... sick in the morning, tired throughout the day, stress/anxiety, heart palpitations, and I can't even tell you how many times sex was an issue between my bf and I.
It was so bad that my bf actually said to me one day, "do you know how many times we've been intimate lately?". And I honestly had no idea - it was the furthest thing from my mind. He said, "once since Thanksgiving." And would you know - it was the middle of February! That is so not normal.
I knew I had to do something at that point. So I tried to adjust everything in my life to see if anything would change. Nothing. Then I got the suspicion it was the bcp, found this site, and stopped taking the bcp - finally my life started to turn around.
Right now... I can't get enough of my bf. I have more energy. My thoughts are positive. My head is clear.
I'm not going to lie - some days I feel terrible, but not every day like when on the pill. And I've only been off for 3 1/2 weeks - so I think it's still working its way out of my system.
Just go with your heart, read the different threads on this board, and know that things will get better.
The ladies on here are incredible. They are here for you. I am too.
For all my fellow Canadian babies,
here are some links to Health Canada's website with info on drug regulation under the Food and Drugs Act and how to report adverse side effects
Hope this helps, this is a great thread idea!
Do any of you British girls know who we should report to?
Excellent point. Perhaps non-Americans who've had bad reactions to FDA approved birth control pills should report it to both the FDA and the local equivalent. More work, but it covers more bases.
Greetings. I am a 42 yr old, perimenopausal woman, 4 kids (5-22)Both my docs recommended trying NuvaRing to "quiet my ovary", help w/cramps (pre-menstrual, menstrual and mid-cycle) I had an ovary removed 10 years ago for a dermoid cyst. Got pregant with last 2 kids (w/ the one active ovary) no problem. Nursed all 4 for a total of 5 yrs.
I have a history of not doing great on various BC (from Orthotricycline to Jasmine) But my docs assured me the NuvaRing was "low-dose" & safe. One doc-the PA (Phys. Asst) even said it was "localized" which is not true...it is systemic and circulates all thru your blood. They both said the half-life (how long it stays in your system) is only 4 days (on average). After exp. SEVERE side effects I later found out the progesterone component stays for an average of 14-16 days (this was direct from the Mfr-since I phoned Organon to report my severe symptoms.) Keep in mind, my husband has a vasectomy, so I really didn't need this med for BC! My first presenting symptom was sleep disruption, waking up mid-sleep cycle (about 4 hrs after I went to bed). This continued for weeks. I got no more than 3-4 hours sleep for about 4-5 weeks!
I took the ring out, the am of the 6th day, but the effects lingered for weeks, having set in motion a whole cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, etc)
My parasympathetic system was amped out..the gas was pushed down hard! My flight-or-fight response was in overdrive!
As a result:
I lost 10 lbs in 2.5 weeks! My BP went from 120/70 to over 135/90 (I had to go to the EMERGENCY ROOM because my primary doctor was "not seeing patients on Friday afternoon" and my OB/GYN was closed on Friday-even tho I phoned her, she suggested I go to emergency.
I had MAJOR heart palpitations, tremors, shaking, edema, complete fatigue, at one point my whole vagina was BEET RED!, numbness and shooting pains in my legs, flashes of blinding light, nausea, bruising on my legs, and more. I felt as tho' I was poisoned. No one believed how sick I was because I am always so strong and healthy!
I recently had an echocardiogram and have met with and am following up with a wonderful Dr. who specializes in perimenopasual transition and menopauses. Her sites:
(www.menopausetreatment.com and www.savingthesoulofmedicine.com)
ALSO-seeing a great accunpuncturist. The NIH (National Inst of Health) have come out with a consensus on validating the benefits of this ancient practice. Science is finally catching up. My results after the first treatment (for hormonal imbalance, heart palpitations, thyroid and adrenal function) were nothing short of miraculous!
I am waiting the results of two scans (for kidneys and adrenals, and pelvic/ovarian) I am meeting with my new Doc tomorrow and feel I am finally getting sleep and strength back.
Never give up. ONLY YOU know your body. Listen to it.
Hi there everyone...
I'm 19 years old and my doctor diagnosed me with low seritonin levels when I was a junior in highschool. I was on Efexor XR and seeing a theripist. During that time, I was feeling better, I went to college... and met a guy. I wanted to have sex and also I was having servere acne problems. My Gyno put me on ORTHO TRICYCLEN-LO. It's been almsot two years now... I've dropped out of college... i'm working full time and the EFFEXOR stopped working. My new boyfriend noticed my mood changes and I started to go downhill fast!! I visited my doctor two weeks ago and he put me on Zoloft... everyone i've talked to says it REALLY works for depression and anxiety, but for me it's not. So this morning my boyfriend (the smart x-ray tech.) decided to search low seritonin levels...and it said birth contorl can serverly lower your serition levels. I think i'm just going to stop taking the pill... and continue with my zoloft. My boyfriend and I do not have sex... because he is having personal problems. So why should I even take the pill?!
Any suggestions... e-mail or respond to me ASAP!!
May I use your story for our calling on Oprah projct...you may have even sent one in! LOL! I have so many now but I am allways looking for more and yours is a good example!
kakababy - you've answered your own question. Why should you take the pill?