Sunday, February 19, 2006

Not So Good Living Through Synthetic Chemistry

Speaking of potentially adverse effects of natural hormones, some news about synthetic hormones:

Early findings suggest Johnson & Johnson's contraceptive patch may cause more blood clots than birth control pills but more research is needed, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

One study showed women who used the patch, Ortho Evra, were twice as likely to develop blood clots than others who took the pill. A second study, however, found the risk was about the same with either method.

"We should caution that these results are preliminary and further evaluation is necessary to understand what these results mean," said Dr. Daniel Shames, director of the Food and Drug Administration's division of reproductive and urologic drug products.

This is something to keep an eye on. Just don't count on AP to give you an accurate report. [I must say I am puzzled by AP's continued slanted coverage of this particular topic.]

Ignoring the title of the AP article, here's the opening paragraph:

Risks of blood clots in legs and lungs are twice as high for women using the birth-control patch instead of the pill, says a study reported by the drug maker and the Food and Drug Administration.

Except the study says no such thing. How do I know that? From the very same AP article:

While one of the newly reported studies found no increased risk of clots, the interim results from the second suggested a twofold increase in the risk of venous thromboembolic events, or clots in the legs and lungs, in women using the patch, Ortho said.

However, because the confidence intervals of the results for the two forms of contraceptive overlap, there actually may be no increased risk from the patch or it may be more than double, said Shames, FDA's director for reproductive and urologic drug products.

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