What's in your Pill?

Watchdog group warns of potentially dangerous hormone.

By Lynn Harris
Published February 7, 2007 6:58PM (EST)

Ever hear of desogestrel? That's a problem, according to public interest watchdog group Public Citizen. The organization, founded by Ralph Nader and not necessarily a fan of Big Pharma, has created a petition calling on the FDA to ban oral contraceptives that contain this hormone. Why? Because -- as USA Today also reports -- research suggests that birth control pills containing desogestrel are twice as likely than others to cause potentially dangerous blood clots. Isn't there some sort of warning about this on the box? Sure, a Public Citizen spokesperson told USAT, but it's in "four-point type." According to the petition, 7.5 million prescriptions for birth control containing desogestrel were filled last year; a ban on such pills could save "hundreds" of women from developing venous thrombosis "and its disabling and sometimes fatal consequences." OK, hundreds is not millions or even thousands -- and to be sure, no drug is 110 percent safe -- but a) nobody wants thrombosis, and b) considering that there appear to be perfectly good alternatives, this is probably something Pill-taking women will want to know about. And Public Citizen is getting the word out the new-fashioned way: via YouTube. For more information -- or to submit your own video -- visit NotMyPill.org.

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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