Women who are trying to make decisions about a safe and effective form of birth control are having a hard time these days.

On the heels of reports that Yaz, Bayer’s number one selling oral birth control pill was linked to abnormally high incidence of blood clotting disorders, it is now being reported that Nuvaring, an implantable birth control device similar to an IUD, is also causing more pulmonary embolisms than other forms of birth control.

The blood clots being linked to Nuvaring use include deep vein thrombosis (usually a blood clot in the leg) and pulmonary embolism (a sometimes fatal blood clot in the blood supply to the lungs).

Both Yaz and Nuvaring prevent pregnancy by introducing hormones into a woman’s body. All oral birth control pills work basically the same way. The hormones control ovulation. But, what most people don’t know is that both Yaz and Nuvaring use newer hormones that time-tested, relatively safe oral birth control pills don’t.

Most hormone related birth control involves the delivery of two kinds of hormones, a progestin and an estrogen. In Yaz, Bayer used a new form of progestin, drosperinone and in Nuvaring, a new progestin (desogestrel) was also used. None of the older, traditional oral birth control pills contain these hormones.  Unfortunately, desogestrel had been linked as far back as 1995 with causing more pulmonary embolisms than other progestins.

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Although all hormones containing birth control can cause clotting injuries, it appears that the safety profile for these two drugs is different than other birth control medications. Evolving medical literature suggests they are in fact much riskier.

Currently, Nuvaring cases have been filed in the federal court system and are consolidated before Judge Sippel in Missouri. There are also a number of cases filed in New Jersey and those are consolidated before judge Marinoti.

The lesson to be learned is that no method of birth control is completely safe. Before choosing any form of birth control, do your own research and talk about the various options and their relative risks with your doctor.