Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ring Warning?

Dr. Kate,

I'm writing you because I'm a bit confused about NuvaRing. I would like to try it and I'm fitted to do so (no weight, age, smoking issues...) but I can read a lot of negative testimonies on the internet and it seems that many lawyers are trying to do a class action against this product. The abundance of negative info makes me confused. Do you think that they are just motivated by greed and that the product being FDA approved should no present more dangers than any other contraceptives? Do you think that these lawyers are right and that NuvaRing presents more dangers than other contraceptives?

Wannabe Ringer

Dear Ringer,

Birth control in all its forms is a magnet for negative feelings, bad press, and class-action lawsuits. So many folks find the idea of birth control abominable at heart, that it's not "natural," or that women shouldn't be interfering with their fertility in any way. And these feelings influence how they talk about their experiences—or worse, about what's "right" for other women. You'll often find that unhappy people are the ones motivated to blog about their experiences, or talk to reporters, or approach lawyers. And if it makes for a good story, or a possible case in court, they'll find reporters and lawyers who are only too eager to listen.

The FDA, for all its faults, puts all birth control methods through a rigorous approval process—manufacturers seem to have even MORE hoops to jump through than makers of other drugs and devices. So once a contraceptive has been FDA-approved, you can take some comfort in what the studies must have shown about its efficacy and safety. I can tell you that the studies of the NuvaRing—and there are many—are all in agreement about both the effectiveness and the safety of the ring. While all contraceptives carry rare to small risks of serious side effects, the NuvaRing is no worse than the others.

Have any of you heard scary things about the NuvaRing, or other birth control methods?

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