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Could Oral Contraceptives Help Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Posted 4 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 28, 2015 – Oral contraceptives – also known as birth control pills – may ease pain and improve functioning in women with rheumatoid arthritis, a small German study suggests. "Women with inflammatory arthritis who were currently using oral contraceptives or who had used them in the past, presented with better patient-reported outcomes within the first two years of arthritis," the study authors wrote. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the joints, resulting in pain and swelling. About 1.3 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis, and of these, nearly 75 percent are women, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Waseem Mir, a rheumatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, noted, "We have to take the findings of the study with great caution." Mir was not involved in the current ... Read more

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Birth Control Pills May Cut Women's Odds for Uterine Cancer

Posted 5 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2015 – A new study suggests that birth control pills may also help shield women from uterine cancer. Taking birth control pills, even for just a few years, offers significant long-term protection against uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, the British researchers said. And the longer a women takes birth control pills, the greater her reduction in risk for the disease, concluded the team led by Valerie Beral of the University of Oxford. In fact, they estimated that over the past 50 years, birth control pills have prevented about 400,000 cases of endometrial cancer among women before age 75 in wealthy nations, including about 200,000 between 2005 and 2014 alone. "The strong protective effect of oral contraceptives against endometrial cancer – which persists for decades after stopping the pill – means that women who use it when they are in their 20s or ... Read more

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U.S. Oncologists Decry High Cost of Cancer Drugs

Posted 23 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, July 23, 2015 – Soaring costs for cancer drugs are hurting patient care in the United States, a group of top oncologists claim. "High cancer-drug prices are affecting the care of patients with cancer and our health care system," Dr. Ayalew Tefferi, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a Mayo news release. Tefferi and his colleagues made a number of recommendations on how to address the problem in a commentary published July 23 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is one of the suggestions the team of 118 leading cancer experts offered as a possible solution. Along with their recommendations, the group also expressed support for a patient-based grassroots movement on change.org that is demanding action on the issue. "The average gross household income in the U.S. is about $52,000 per year. For an insured patient with ... Read more

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Women Spend Far Less on Birth Control Because of 'Obamacare'

Posted 7 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 7, 2015 – Out-of-pocket costs for prescription birth control have dropped significantly since the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," took effect in the United States, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed prescription claims data from a large national insurer. They found that the average out-of-pocket cost for a birth control pill prescription fell from $32.74 in the first six months of 2012 to $20.37 in the first six months of 2013. That represents a 38 percent decrease. During that same time, the out-of-pocket cost for intrauterine device (IUD) insertion fell from $262.38 to $84.30 – a 68 percent decrease, the findings showed. The study, published in the July issue of the journal Health Affairs, is the first to examine how prices for prescription birth control have changed since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect, said the researchers at the ... Read more

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Obese Teens Less Likely to Use Birth Control

Posted 1 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 – Sexually active teenage girls who are obese are less likely to use birth control than teens who aren't overweight, a new study reports. What's more, those overweight teens who do use some form of contraception are less likely than their normal-weight peers to use it regularly, the researchers said. In both cases, obese teens are at greater risk for an unintended pregnancy, the research from the University of Michigan found. "The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is one of the highest in the developed world and we know pregnant adolescents are more likely to have poor birth outcomes," said the study's lead author, Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, in a university news release. "Reducing adolescent pregnancy is a national public health priority and ... Read more

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FDA Panel to Discuss Safety of Contraceptive Device Essure

Posted 25 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced that it would hold a public meeting to discuss the safety of the contraceptive device Essure. Essure – a small metal coil placed via catheter into the fallopian tubes – is the only permanent birth control device approved for use in the United States. The device received approval in 2002, but over the years the FDA has been alerted to thousands of complaints from women who use the device. Those complaints include abdominal pain, menstrual irregularities, headache, fatigue and weight fluctuations. Complaints have also been received regarding "migration," breakage or malposition of the Essure device, the FDA said in a statement published on its website. There have also been a small number of deaths of women potentially linked to Essure, the agency said, and five reports of fetal death after women became pregnant while using the ... Read more

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Hormone Therapy Doesn't Help Memory: Study

Posted 3 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 – Women taking menopausal hormone therapy to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes often hope it will also help their menopause-related memory and thinking problems, but a new study reports it won't. However, oral hormone therapy was linked to mood benefits, the research found. "Hormone therapy is not a panacea, as it was once portrayed to be," said study researcher Carey Gleason, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "On the other hand, it is not a poison." Previously, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Memory Study ''suggested that hormone therapy was associated with cognitive harm for women age 65 and older," Gleason said. That study also found increased risk of heart attack, strokes and blood clots in postmenopausal women, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Today, ... Read more

Related support groups: Plan B, Mirena, Implanon, Provera, Depo-Provera, Nexplanon, Hot Flashes, Microgestin Fe 1/20, Loestrin 24 Fe, Plan B One-Step, Menopausal Disorders, Estradiol, Premarin, Medroxyprogesterone, Progesterone, Levonorgestrel, Estrace, Lo Loestrin Fe, Ethinyl Estradiol, Postmenopausal Symptoms

Hormone Therapy for Menopause Linked to Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Posted 18 May 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 18, 2015 – Hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms may raise the risk a bit for serious lower intestinal bleeding, a new study suggests. In the 1990s, millions of American women turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease the symptoms of menopause. But the results of a landmark study called the Women's Health Initiative, released in 2002, found that long-term use of the therapy increased women's risk for breast cancer, as well as their risk for heart attacks and strokes. Use of the regimen fell dramatically soon after. Now researchers say HRT's propensity for clotting, linked to heart attacks and strokes, may also lead to bleeding in the lower intestine. "HRT is an effective treatment, but it does come with risks," said lead researcher Dr. Prashant Singh of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Singh said the risk of any one woman ... Read more

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Many Women Unaware of Female-Specific Stroke Symptoms

Posted 7 May 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 – Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, but many are unaware of warning signs and symptoms that are unique to females, a new study says. Of 1,000 women surveyed, only one in 10 was aware that hiccups that occur with unusual chest pain is an early warning sign of stroke in women, said researchers from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus. Although men and women share some risk factors for stroke – such as smoking, being sedentary and having high blood pressure – others are specific to women, the researchers explained. But only 11 percent of women polled knew that pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches, birth-control pills and hormone replacement therapy increase their stroke risk, the study found. "I think we have a ways to go when it comes to educating women about stroke and their unique risk factors," Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, ... Read more

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FDA Should Stop Sales of Essure Contraceptive Implant: Petition

Posted 5 May 2015 by Drugs.com

Bayer's contraceptive implant Essure can cause serious complications and should be taken off the market, says a citizen's petition filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approved Essure about 13 years ago after a review process that was fast-tracked because the device was the first alternative to surgical sterilization for women who did not want more children and offered patients a quick recovery, The New York Times reported. Essure is a metal and polyester coil implanted in a woman's fallopian tubes to make her permanently sterile. The procedure can be done in a doctors' office in just 10 minutes. However, since approving Essure, the FDA has received more than 4,000 reports of serious complications, including severe back and pelvic pain, coils that pierced the fallopian tubes and lodged in other organs, and heavy prolonged menstrual periods, The Times reported. ... Read more

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Use of Long-Acting Birth Control Rises Fivefold in a Decade: CDC

Posted 24 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 – The use of long-acting birth control methods such as IUDs or under-the-skin implants jumped fivefold between 2002 and 2011, according to a new U.S. government report. Among U.S. women aged 15 to 44, the use of these long-term but reversible contraceptives rose from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2011-2013, says the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from the agency's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) believe that these methods are gaining in popularity because of their proven ability to prevent unintended pregnancies. An easing of concerns about safety may be playing a role, too. IUDs (intrauterine devices) were commonly used by women in the 1970s, until safety issues led to a decline in their use. However, since then, IUDs have improved in quality, experts say. Also, over the past 20 years, ... Read more

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IUDs, Contraceptive Implants Work Longer Than Thought, Researchers Report

Posted 5 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 – Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants appear to prevent pregnancy one year beyond their approved length of use, according to early results from an ongoing study. Researchers are assessing whether these long-acting forms of birth control may be effective up to three years after their approved length of use. Hormonal IUDs are currently approved for five years and contraceptive implants – small rods inserted into the arm – are currently approved for three years. Both types of contraception were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The study, by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will eventually enroll a total of 800 women. These preliminary results were from 263 women who used the hormonal IUD Mirena and 237 women who used the contraceptive implants Implanon and Nexplanon. The women ... Read more

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Better Contraceptive Knowledge Can Aid in Safe Use of Acne Drug: Study

Posted 5 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 – Researchers say giving birth control information to women visiting dermatology clinics can help promote the safe use of the drug isotretinoin, an acne medication known to cause birth defects. Isotretinion was originally sold under the brand name Accutane. That particular brand has been discontinued, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the drug is still available under other brand names, including Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret and Zenatane. The FDA requires women of childbearing age to sign a pledge that they will use two forms of contraception when taking isotretinoin because the medication is known to cause birth defects. The study included 100 female patients from one dermatology clinic. Their average age was about 27, and nearly two-thirds had a college education. Their knowledge about eight methods of birth ... Read more

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Modern Birth Control Methods Could Avoid 15 Million Unwanted Pregnancies: Report

Posted 4 Feb 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 – If more women had access to modern birth control methods and used them correctly, there would be 15 million fewer unwanted pregnancies in low- and middle-income nations each year, a new study suggests. For women in these countries, unwanted pregnancies can have serious consequences, including death, disease, disability and fewer educational and job opportunities, the researchers noted. Also, many unwanted pregnancies end in abortion. Researchers looked at birth control use by women between the ages of 15 and 49, in 35 countries, between 2005 and 2012. Birth control was defined as modern or traditional. Modern methods included condoms, intrauterine devices, oral and injectable contraceptives, implants, sterilization and breast feeding. Traditional methods included withdrawal and trying to time intercourse when women weren't fertile. The risk of unwanted ... Read more

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Use of 'the Pill' Tied to Higher Risk for Rare Brain Cancer

Posted 22 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 – The risk for developing a rare form of brain cancer known as glioma appears to go up with long-term use of hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill, new Danish research suggests. Women under 50 with a glioma "were 90 percent more likely to have been using hormonal contraceptives for five years or more, compared with women from the general population with no history of brain tumor," said study leader Dr. David Gaist. However, the Danish study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, and Gaist stressed that the findings "need to be put in context" for women because "glioma is very rare." How rare? Only five out of every 100,000 Danish women between the ages of 15 and 49 develop the condition each year, according to Gaist, a professor of neurology at Odense University Hospital. He said that figure includes women who take contraceptives such as the birth control pill. So, ... Read more

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