GPs cautious over new birth pill following deaths

A new contraceptive pill that came onto the UK market a short while ago is being treated with caution in the Netherlands. Dutch GPs are being advised not to prescribe the pill – marketed as Yasmin – until studies have established its safety.

The warning, issued by the Dutch College of General Practitioners, follows the death of a 17-year-old Dutch girl who died from a venous thrombosis (blood clots in veins) while taking Yasmin. Forty other cases of venous thrombosis, including two deaths, have been reported from other European countries, where the contraceptive has been available since 2000.

The Medicines Evaluation Agency in Holland has asked that the drug carry a warning about the possible link to venous thrombosis. Several years ago, the agency launched a study involving 3000 women taking Yasmin, but the results have not been published.

The new pill, a combination of drospirenone, a progestogen, and ethinyl oestradiol, was launched in the UK at the end of last April (BMJ, 2002; 324: 869).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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