What’s worse, there’s a growing body of evidence that doctors knew the dangers nearly 50 years ago—and the risks were, in the words of this author, “largely ignored.”
I had a stroke from hormonal birth control at the age of 28. Prior to my stroke, I didn’t think much about the side effects of hormonal birth control, or any other medication for that matter. Like many of us, I took for granted that if a doctor prescribed the medication, it must be safe. Especially one as widely used and as cavalierly prescribed as birth control pills. I was so wrong. Nearly dead wrong. Since that time, I have become increasingly aware of how little we know about the side effects of many medications and how many are under-researched before being “approved.” We can see that in the number of medications that get taken off the market. The pressure of the pharmaceutical companies to make a return on their research investment and their exorbitant advertising budget is putting human safety, and especially the safety of women, at great risk. I wrote my master’s thesis on risk communication, how women are informed of the risks of hormonal birth control, and what they know about blood clots. I’ll write more on that later but suffice it to say, the results were not promising. It appears that we are intentionally misled where drug risks are concerned.
The money quote:
From a personal standpoint, one of the most frustrating discoveries I have made so far was found in the testimony of Dr. David B. Clark, a professor of neurology. Imagine my shock as I read him describing the exact symptoms of my stroke. This was particularly frustrating as my doctors indicated that the reason I was misdiagnosed and left untreated for so long was because my stroke was so highly unusual. And now I’m reading testimony from 1970 that says they knew strokes in young women on hormonal birth control occurred this way. Over forty years ago, these risks (and many more) were identified and, for the most part, ignored.