Many contraceptives are linked to an increased risk of side effects, especially an increased risk of blood clots. In 2011, however, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that contraceptives that contain drospirenone could be linked to an even further risk of blood clots. That announcement came after a review of two studies examining medications that contain drospirenone. The FDA has noted that not all studies show an increased risk of blood clots associated with drospirenone.
Blood clots are potentially serious for women. If they form in a deep vein (a condition known as deep vein thrombosis), they can dislodge and move to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.
On April 10, 2012, the FDA announced that it was updating the information about the risk of blood clots in drospirenone-containing birth control. The announcement was based on a review of observational studies, which showed that drospirenone-containing contraceptives "may be associated with a higher risk for blood clots than other progestin-containing pills."
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Drospirenone is a synthetic version of progesterone, a female hormone. The studies reviewed by the FDA did not account for other patient characteristics that may also have had an influence on the development of blood clots. The FDA recommended that women talk to their healthcare professional before deciding which birth control method they would use.