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April 4, 2011

New Study Reveals only 1% of Estrogen in Drinking Water Comes from Birth Control Pills

drinking waterA new study by Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, associate professor and director of the University of California-San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, indicates that birth control pills only account for about 1% of estrogen in the drinking water supply.

There have been concerns that the estrogen contained in birth control pills causes environmental health concerns such as intersex fish, fish showing female traits such as egg production. But this new study sheds new light on the source of estrogen in water. Woodruff and her colleagues analyzed the source of estrogen in drinking water, and discovered that it is mostly coming from sources such as livestock waste, soy and dairy foods, and other pharmaceuticals, but not birth control pills. This study contradicts the idea that estrogen absorbed by the body from birth control pills is excreted in urine and eventually makes its way into the water supply. Instead, this research indicates that most of the hormone is removed during processing at waste water treatment plants.

The effect on humans of hormones in water is controversial. Woodruff’s research focused on the source of estrogen in our drinking water supply and not the effects of the hormones on humans. She mentioned that estrogen in water, no matter where it is coming from, can be contributing to human health problems such as breast cancer, early puberty and other reproductive issues. However, Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think-tank based in Washington, D.C., says that there is no significant scientific evidence supporting the idea that estrogen in water causes human health problems.

No matter what the effect of extra estrogen in our environment, this study reveals that birth control pills are not a significant source of the hormone in our drinking water.

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.

August 17, 2010

FDA Approves of New Emergency Contraceptive Pill

The U.S Food and Drug Administration have approved of ella, a new one-dose emergency contraceptive that works longer than the current leading drug on the market.  In June this year, the FDA unanimously voted that the use of ella provided convincing data and sufficient information on its safety.  ella was approved last year in Europe under the name ellaOne and is currently used in 22 countries.

The FDA approved ella as a prescription-only birth control option.  This ruling allows for U.S sales of the drug.  Ella from HRA Pharma is to be marketed as an emergency contraceptive that can be taken within 5 days of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.  The current emergency contraceptive drug ‘Plan B’ is approved for use up to 3 days after unprotected intercourse.

In a trial between Plan B and ella, women randomly received one of the two pills within three to five days of having unprotected sex.   Women who took ella had a 1.8 percent chance of becoming pregnant.  Women who took plan B had a 2.6 percent chance.

Consequently, Plan B is currently available without a prescription for those 17 and older where as ella will require a doctor’s prescription.  HRA Pharma did not request an over-the-counter position for ella.

There is some concern about women becoming confused by the use of ella. Although ella prevents ovulation for as long as 5 days after sex, some women may believe that once taking ella, it can protect them against pregnancy from any additional acts of unprotected sex for 5 days.  This is not true as sperm from additional sex can outlive the initial sperm past the 5 day window.  In addition, the FDA is concerned about the obesity rates in the US and ella’s effect on overweight and obese women.   Ella seems to be less effective in obese women.

Ella works differently than Plan B.  Though both emergency contraceptives contain hormones that prevent ovulation, ella also contains ulipristal, a non-hormonal drug that blocks the effects of hormones necessary for conception.  Ella belongs to the same class as a drug called mifepristone – a drug that is used as a part of a treatment that induces abortion. This calls for criticism from pro-life groups who believe that ella is closer to an abortion pill than an emergency contraceptive pill.   However, ella is used at lower doses that prevent conception and should not cause abortion.  It is still unknown whether or not ella will affect an existing pregnancy, or if ella might increase the rate of spontaneous miscarriage in the few women who become pregnant despite using ella.

The FDA reviewers reported no life-threatening medical side effects with ella. The most common side effects were mild and included headache, nausea, and abdominal pain.

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.

August 3, 2010

Hormonal Contraceptives are Less Effective in Overweight/Obese Women

A systematic review of results reported online has concluded that hormonal contraceptives (such as skin patches, vaginal rings, implants, pills, and injections) may not be as effective in overweight and obese women.

With obesity rates increasing worldwide every year, it is important that these findings be shared with the public.

The results from seven studies on 39,531 women on the success of hormonal contraceptives were examined and the results were varied among the different methods of birth control.  Some methods such as the birth control pill and the patch were less effective at preventing pregnancy in the obese and overweight women who used a hormonal contraceptive.

Body mass index, or BMI, played a large role in the effectiveness of the birth control pill.  Women with a BMI higher than 25 (classified as overweight), were more likely to get pregnant while using the pill than women with a BMI under 25.

Body weight, on the other hand, was the factor among women using the skin patch, vaginal ring, implant, or injection.  The body weight due to fat on the body determined the pregnancy risk among women using contraception.  Overweight and obese women using the skin patch, progestin implant, and vaginal ring were more likely to get pregnant than women of normal weight using these forms of contraception.  Curiously enough, the effectiveness of the hormonal injection was not affected by BMI or body weight.  One possible reason for the decreased effectiveness of the skin patch is simply that there is a higher density of fat cells in areas where the patch is to be placed.  The fat cells in the way of the blood stream can absorb and store the hormones preventing them from reaching the blood stream.

The exact reason why overweight and obese women are at a greater risk of pregnancy while using hormonal contraceptives is unknown.  Although several theories imply that it has something to do with specific biological factors.

Liver Enzymes – overweight women can experience an increased regulation of liver metabolism.  These higher levels of enzymes can help break down the hormones in oral contraceptives.  Heavier women have a greater circulating blood volume and body mass therefore there is more tissue for blood to circulate though. The chance that enzymes will break down the hormones in contraception is faster therefore the levels of circulating hormones can be decreased.

Hormone Storage – Hormones like estrogen and progestin that are found in birth control are stored in body fat.  The more fat cells on a woman, the greater her chances of the hormones becoming stored in her fat rather than flowing into her bloodstream.

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.