Birth control that you don't have to take every day? Over 1 million women have said, "Sign me up." In 2010 alone, over 5 million NuvaRing prescriptions were filled. However, two new studies found that women using the potentially dangerous birth control ring may have an increased risk of experiencing life-threatening blood clots.
The first study, conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), found that using NuvaRing results in higher sustained exposure to estrogen, increasing the likelihood of blood clots. The results suggest that women using non-oral contraceptives, such as NuvaRing, have a 56 percent higher risk of suffering a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism than women taking oral contraceptives, like the pill.
The second study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at over 1.6 million women, ages 15-49, who were using methods of birth control other than the pill. The study found that patients using NuvaRing were 6.5 times more likely to experience blood clots than women who used no form of birth control. Their risk was two times higher than woman using birth control pills containing the hormone levonorgestrel.
Both studies highlight the risks associated with continued use of NuvaRing and suggest that patients are given stronger warnings. The FDA has already received roughly 1,000 reports of possible NuvaRing-related blood clots, and more than 700 women are currently suing NuvaRing's manufacturer, Merck, for downplaying the drug's health risks.