Contraceptive pills: New warning about suicide risk as a possible result of depression
It has long been known that birth control pills can be associated with numerous side effects. However, some users do not know that the pill and other hormonal contraceptive methods can also have a significant impact on the psyche. Due to this risk, the package leaflet will contain a warning about the risk of depression and suicide in the future.
Drug with side effects
Fast, safe and convenient: Many women still rely on hormonal contraceptive methods. No wonder – when taken and used properly, birth control pills usually provide reliable protection and sexual freedom. However, the intake of the drug is associated with unpleasant side effects. This can lead to weight gain and headaches. It is also known that contraceptive pills have a high risk of thrombosis. In addition, the pill and other hormonal contraceptive methods can have consequences for the psyche of consumers. This should be noted in the brochures in the future.
In the event of mood swings and depressive symptoms, contact the doctor
"Depressed mood and depression are common side effects when using hormonal contraceptives," the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) said in a statement.
"Depression can be severe and is a common risk factor for suicidal behavior and suicide," he continues.
BfArM and several pharmaceutical companies have already announced in a letter addressed mainly to doctors and pharmacists that, on recommendation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), a new warning message will be included in the specialist and package information.
According to the so-called "red handwriting letter", women should be advised to contact their doctor in case of mood swings and depressive symptoms, even if they occur soon after the start of treatment.
Increased risk of suicide
Last year's EMA recommendation was based on a Danish study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers around Øjvind Lidegaard of the University of Copenhagen have estimated data from nearly 500,000 women and found a link between hormonal contraception and increased suicide risk.
Of the 6,999 women, at least they had suicidal attempts, and 71 had committed suicide.
According to the authors, users of hormonal contraceptives were twice as likely to commit suicide attempts as non-users and three times higher at risk of suicide.
"The estimated risk was higher in the age group of 15-19 years than in older users," BfArM wrote.
However, EMA concluded that "due to the limited data available, a clear causal relationship can not be established." (Ad)