Most of the information and articles in the newspapers and network news programs pertaining to the Plan B or morning after birth control pill discuss primarily social, religious and political issues. I have read a few articles or comments by pediatricians and other physicians saying that these pills are very safe and have no long-term side effects
Our experience with these birth control pills, and that is actually what they are, is very limited in this country. I have reviewed a number of articles from countries where these pills have been used for years, and they outline major risks and complications that are being seen in women of all ages who are exposed to these birth control pills.
In a 2001 Lancet article, the author, Dr. Ellen Grant, points out the complications. The morning after pill is equal in strength to taking 50 regular birth control pills. If the individual taking these pills has any of the known inherited genetic or acquired susceptibilities to clotting, or is a smoker, she is at great risk of developing blood clots. The majority of these are deep venous clots of the lower extremities, but in reality can develop anywhere in the body, including the brain.
I am a hematologist and have diagnosed and treated many young women who have developed blood clots related to the above mentioned conditions, with and without the addition of birth control pills, which can be a major independent risk factor for clotting. I will leave the other complications related to birth control pills to the OB/Gyn doctors.
So, what happens when a 15-year-old develops a major clotting complication associated with the morning after birth control pill? Aside from the obvious medical problems, both acute and potentially chronic, these complications can be fatal.
Who will her attorney blame? The FDA, Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration and, of course, the drug manufacturer and the pharmacy where the pill was purchased.
These legal issues are of secondary concern.
The main problem is that we are introducing another supposedly harmless medicine to be taken by young women who believe the media when they point out that “ these pills are safe.”
ROBERT L. FENNING, M.D.
Belted Kingfisher Road