NIH Update II
When last we left the saga of the NIH posting incorrect medical information about the progestin-only emergency contraceptive pill (ECP):
As soon as I hear from A.D.A.M.'s editor I'll let you know.
In the interim, I can't help but notice that the NIH site continues to display incorrect information about the emergency contraception pill. I wish I was even marginally skilled in the art of PR, because if this type of news makes the wires, I most certainly think a press release about the government's incompetence/ignorance when it comes to disseminating health information would be newsworthy.
On a related note, a reader wonders Where did the 10 times risk statement come from? I've asked myself the same question and I must say, I don't know. It certainly looks like it came from a study, but, despite repeated literature searches, I haven't been able to find even one source for the statement.
I do have a theory, but I must caution you that the underlying assumption--that anyone with any medical knowledge would make such a basic mistake--is quite far-fetched. Here it goes. The prescribing info for Plan B contains this statement (.pdf) [emphasis mine]:
Ectopic pregnancies account for approximately 2% of reported pregnancies (19.7 per 1,000 reported pregnancies). Up to 10% of pregnancies reported in clinical studies of routine use of progestin-only contraceptives are ectopic. A history of ectopic pregnancy need not be considered a contraindication to use of this emergency contraceptive method. Health providers, however, should be alert to the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy in women who become pregnant or complain of lower abdominal pain after taking Plan B®.
Now, clearly, the statement is about ectopic pregnancies in users of the regular progestin-only birth control pill (different drug, different regimen, etc.; tells us nothing about ectopic risk in users of the progestin-only emergency contraception pill). However, it is possible for someone to misinterpret the information and mistakenly assume it refers to Plan B. I don't know; I told you my theory was pretty out there. All I can say is that, on the off chance that I'm right, someone who makes this kind of mistake has no business providing educational content to frogs, let alone the NIH.
To be continued.