Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Review Compares Latest Birth Control Options

Date:
January 31, 2008
Source:
Center For The Advancement Of Health
Summary:
With many women still searching for the perfect birth control method, a systematic review analyzes a host of studies comparing the contraceptive skin patch or vaginal ring to the pill. Although perfection remains elusive and choices are equally effective, the review authors were able to pinpoint some preferences.

Women using the patch were more likely to use the medication as prescribed than those on the pill were. However, patch users experienced more side effects and were more likely to abandon their method eventually than pill users were.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tomasz Trojanowski

With many women still searching for the perfect birth control method, a systematic review analyzes a host of studies comparing the contraceptive skin patch or vaginal ring to the pill. Although perfection remains elusive and choices are equally effective, the review authors were able to pinpoint some preferences.

“Basically, all of these methods were similar in preventing pregnancy,” said lead investigator Laureen Lopez, Ph.D., research associate at Family Health International in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added warning data to the drug label for the contraceptive skin patch, advising users that the women using the patch have a greater risk of blood clots than pill users. The study prompting the FDA action was not part of the review.

For the review, the researchers looked at 11 randomized controlled trials — three comparing the patch to the pill, and eight comparing the ring to the pill — comprising more than 6,000 women.

Women using the patch were more likely to use the medication as prescribed than those on the pill were. However, patch users experienced more side effects and were more likely to abandon their method eventually than pill users were.

Ring users generally had fewer serious side effects than pill users, but had more vaginal irritation and discharge. Despite this, vaginal ring users tended to stick with their approach longer than the pill group.

The patch is a small adhesive square that dispenses hormones and which a woman must replace every week for three weeks, and then leave off for a week. The Ortho Evra contraceptive patch is the only patch approved for use to date.

The NuvaRing, which Organon manufactures, releases hormones into the vaginal cavity. A woman inserts the ring, a flexible piece of plastic tubing, where it remains for three weeks; she then removes it for one week. Many consider the ring and patch easier to use than birth control pills because women do not have to attend to them every day.

Compared with pill users, patch users had more bleeding breakthroughs, breast discomfort, painful periods, and nausea and vomiting. Rings users, on the other hand, had more vaginal irritation and discharge. Of the two, patch users tended to discontinue the method more readily.

The contraceptive review updates one done in the past, for which only two studies of the patch versus the pill were available. The ring data are new. For all methods, several studies had women drop out, which can limit the value of the results according to the researchers.

“Women who used the ring had fewer bleeding problems than those on the pill, but they did have irritation,” Lopez said. “But discontinuation was similar for the ring and the pill in most of the studies.”

Clinicians have seen the ring increase in popularity, Lopez added.

Mitchell Creinin, M.D., professor and director of gynecological specialties at the University of Pittsburgh, is familiar with all of the review studies. “It all comes back to compliance.” Creinin said. “Once a week versus once a day, twice as much hormone entering the body (with the patch), or half as much (with the ring).”

Creinin, who was not involved with the review, said it is important to understand the people who would enter these studies: “These studies were done primarily when only the pill was available. Women who were unhappy with their present method of birth control were the ones likely to enter them.” He noted that the results differ among studies between European and American women. “North American women tend to have more complaints and are less compliant,” he said.

Overall, Creinin said, women are happy with their birth control because they are not getting pregnant.

Lopez said that women have to consider many issues when choosing a method of birth control. Ease of use, side effects and life situation are each important. For a contraceptive to be effective, the woman must be willing and able to follow the prescribed regimen.

“Women are finally beginning to understand that taking a pill every day is difficult.” Creinin said. He is working on an upcoming study comparing the ring to the patch.

Reference: Lopez LM, et al. Skin patch and vaginal ring versus combined oral contraceptives for contraception (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center For The Advancement Of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Review Compares Latest Birth Control Options." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124203037.htm>.
Center For The Advancement Of Health. (2008, January 31). Review Compares Latest Birth Control Options. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124203037.htm
Center For The Advancement Of Health. "Review Compares Latest Birth Control Options." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124203037.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins