Birth Control Archive

June-July 2005: Birth Control

New York State Senate Rules in Favor of EC at Any Age

New Hampshire Makes the Morning After Pill (EC) More Available

Study: The Pill May Cause Permanent Loss of Sex Drive

Male Contraceptive Pill

Concern About Spermicide Nonoxynol-9 Continues to Increase

Nonoxynol-9 Adversely Affects Female Endometrium

NEW YORK STATE SENATE RULES IN FAVOR OF EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION AT ANY AGE – The NY Senate ruled 34-27 to provide morning-after pills over the counter to girls and women without a physician’s visit or prescription and without parental consent regardless of the patient’s age. The medication could be provided by any pharmacist, nurse or midwife who gets a blanket prescription from a physician. [23June05, Wash, DC; Joe DeCook, MD, for AAPLOG, 6July2005]

NH HOUSE MAKES MORNING AFTER PILL MORE AVAILABLE  — The New Hampshire legislature has again approved a measure that would allow pharmacists to sell the morning after pill [EC] without a prescription.

On 25May, the state House approved the bill on a 195-169 vote after it received backing from the state Senate. Unlike last year, when Governor Benson vetoed the measure, Gov. John Lynch has promised to sign the bill.

The effort to amend the legislation to limit access, failed on a 225-141 vote. Supporters of the amendment argued that teenagers should not be given access to the drug without parental involvement. “Would you want your 12-, 13-, 14- or 15 year-old daughters getting emergency contraception as easily as they can buy Advil?” asked Salem Rep. Bettencourt who introduced the age limit [AP report].

Other lawmakers said the Plan B pills would encourage teens to engage in risky sexual behavior and that studies have not shown the full effect of the drugs on teens.

A recent study, conducted by researchers at the Univ of CA at San Francisco, found that increased access to the “morning after” pill did not lower pregnancy rates because many women did not use the pills.

Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, said the study showed “easy access to the drug increases sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates,” a situation she called “alarming. Furthermore, studies show that the abortion rate is unaffected, and in some cases has increased,” she explained.

“Proponents have repeatedly claimed that making the drug available without a prescription would reduce abortion numbers by as many as half; now their own study debunks that claim,” Cathy Cleaver Ruse added.

Six other states have allowed sales of the drug without visiting a doctor, which the FDA is considering nationwide. Vermont and Oregon are seeking to add themselves to the list of states. [Concord NH; Steven Ertelt LifeNews.com Editor 26May05;  http://www.lifenews.com/state1052.html]

 

STUDY: THE PILL MAY CAUSE PERMANENT LOSS OF SEX DRIVE – Doctors are starting to examine the long term effects of meddling with the delicate and complex biochemical systems that accompany the human reproductive system. The water systems around many urban centers contain artificial hormones from birth control pills and are being investigated as a cause of disease. Women are being warned that the use of the pill may lead to blood clots and other life-threatening side effects. Now, a new medical study is showing that the hormonal birth control pill is likely to cause permanent decrease in sex-drive if used long enough.

The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) celebrated for liberating women’s sexuality, may do the opposite, according to American researchers who have warned that women who take the Pill may experience a permanent decline in sexual desire.

Loss of libido is a well-known side-effect of oral contraceptives (OCs) in some women and is listed in the leaflet on the contraceptive pill handed out by the Family Planning Association.

But the research suggests the effect might be long-lasting or even permanent.

An estimated 3.5 million women take the contraceptive pill in the UK – about one in three of all women of reproductive age – and more than 100 million worldwide.

OCs work by curbing the production of testosterone, which governs sex drive in both women and men, and by raising levels of a substance called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which ties up testosterone and blocks its effects. Some women suffer side-effects, including dulled libido, muted or non-existent orgasms and painful intercourse.

It has always been assumed that these are reversible, and cease to be a problem as soon as a woman comes off the Pill. American researchers have now challenged this assumption.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein and lead Dr. Claudia Panzer [Univ of Boston, MA] studied 125 young women attending a sexual dysfunction clinic. Sixty-two were taking OCs, 40 had previously taken them, and 23 had never been on the Pill. The scientists measured levels of SHBG in the women every 3 months for a year and found they were 7 times higher in users of the Pill.

Levels declined in women who had stopped taking the Pill, but remained 3 to 4 times higher than they were in those with no history of using OCs. Those women in the study who stopped taking the pill at the beginning of the study still had twice the normal level of SHBG after a year.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in Washington DC. Dr Goldstein [New Scientist magazine]: “There’s the possibility it is imprinting a woman for the rest of her life.”

The team’s research leader, Dr Claudia Panzer [endocrinologist Boston Univ Med Ctr] said the study indicated that the loss of libido might not be reversible.

“It is important that when doctors advise women to take oral contraception that potential side-effects, including loss of sexual appetite and arousal, are pointed out. If, as our study suggests, the Pill can cause a long-term or permanent loss of libido, that is something women need to be made aware of.”

[The Independent, 05/26/05; BOSTON,26May2005 LifeSiteNews.com;  Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, posted 28May05, 06/01/05] [Related:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/05/26/npill26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/05/26/ixhome.html Birth Control Pill May Cause Prostate Cancer, and Bladder Disease in Mothers’ Children
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/may/05050411.html

 

MALE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL – Scientists have discovered hormonal methods of temporarily halting sperm production. Tests are being conducted in Seattle and in Europe; volunteers receive injections of progestin [synthetic form of female sex hormone progesterone].

Progestin acts on the pituitary gland in the brain and reduces the production of 2 hormones that signal the testes to produce sperm.

Progestin decreases testosterone, needed for libido; so the volunteers rub testosterone gel on their shoulders every day. European drug companies are testing a 1.6 inch progestin implant supplemented with testosterone injections every 3 months.  [LATimes.com; HLA Action News, Mar-Apr2005]

 

CONCERN OVER NONOXYNOL-9 CONTINUES TO GROW – the Food and Drug Administration has failed to update warning labels on products containing the spermicide Nonoxynol-9, which may increase the risk of contracting the AIDS virus among those who use the products, analysts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found.

The FDA said it
cou
ld not comment on the proposed label changes or the GAO report. The analysis was prepared at the request of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who said the findings reflect an “institutional bias” at the FDA and its sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), toward “safe sex rather than responsible sexual activity.”

Dr. Coburn has been pressing public health agencies to cast condoms in a dramatically different light, arguing that medical experts need to warn the public about possible misuse and failure rates.

There is no evidence to date, he noted, that condoms protect against certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as the human papillomavirus…

History. In 1988, the surgeon general announced that condoms containing N-9 might provide additional protection against HIV. Health agencies such as the FDA, the CDC and the National Institutes for Health followed suit. A decade later, however, the CDC, armed with more research, revised its guidelines, and by 2000, CDC publications warned that “N-9 may actually increase the risk of contracting HIV when used frequently.”

Although the FDA reached a similar conclusion two years ago, the agency has yet to issue new warning labels. “The FDA is derelict,” Coburn said in an interview. “They’ve known Nonoxynol-9 increases your risk of HIV, and every day they don’t put that out, they are harming people.”

Contraceptive Microbicide Nonoxynol-9 Has Deleterious Effects on Endometrium – According to recent research published in the journal Contraception, “Contraceptive microbicides formulated as vaginal gels offer the possibility of women-controlled contraception and prevention of HIV infection…Human endometrial biopsies were cultured and incubated with various dosages of N-9 for 6 or 24 hours. Endometrial histology was assessed by light microscopy using hematoxylin and eosin. Inflammatory response was determined by analyzing proinflammatory cytokines with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Endometrial mucin was assessed by immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction,” researchers wrote.

“Histological changes consistent with focal coagulative necrosis were seen after 6 and 24 hours of culture. All cytokines (interleukin 1beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 8) decreased at all concentrations of N-9 after 24 hours of incubation.

The expression of Mucin1 (MUC-1) was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner at both the protein and messenger RNA levels,” said J.K. Jain and coworkers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

The authors continued, These results demonstrate for the first time that N-9 has multiple, potential deleterious effects on the human endometrium, characterized by necrosis, alteration of proinflammatory cytokines and inhibition of MUC-1 expression.”

“Taken together, these in vitro findings suggest that N-9 can interrupt the functional barrier provided by the endometrium and, thus, facilitate infection with HIV and other pathogens,” Jain concluded.

[Jain et al, Contraception “The effect of nonoxynol-9 on human endometrium”, 2005;71(2):137-142; Washington Post, 04/12/05; Women’s Health Law Weekly, 05/08/05; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, posted 28May05, 06/01/05]