We love birth control. Ever since it was released in the 1960s, women have been in control of their sexuality. We get to decide when, if ever, we want babies. We get to decide if we say “yes” to condom-less sex (because the boys always ask), and for the first time in forever, we get to be in charge of our periods. It’s a magic little pill that we take without a second thought. When our iPhone alarm goes off, we pop it in our mouth, wash it down with some vodka, and go about our scandalous lives.
But like most medications, “the pill” comes with some serious risks.
We usually don’t think about those risks, though, so when a 21-year-old Australian girl recently collapsed in her home, no one thought birth control would be to blame. I mean, come on. It’s birth control. According to the Birmingham Mail, however, these innocent-seeming pills were the cause of her premature death.
Apparently, Fallan Kurek was prescribed Rigevidon to regulate her periods. Standard stuff. But not even three weeks later, Fallan started feeling weird. She felt short of breath and had a shooting pain in her legs and ribs. When she went to the doctor, they prescribed her some medicine to lower her fever, told her to take standard pain medicine, and said to come back if it got worse. Four days later, she was still feeling shitty. She woke up, went to take her medicine, and collapsed on the stairs.
That’s when tragedy struck.
Her parents called the paramedics, but Fallan had stopped breathing. Upon arriving at the hospital, the doctors found a large blood clot in her lung. Shortly after she was pronounced brain dead and taken off of life support.
It’s terrifying that this can happen. We know there are risks, but we never really think about them. And we never think that it could happen to us. Fallan’s parents, Julia and Brian, spoke out about the incident to the Birmingham Mail.
We felt angry when they first mentioned it could be the pill. She was only on it to regulate her periods. I couldn’t believe nobody had said the pill could do this. It should say it on the pack that they can kill and the label…Fallan was looking forward to the rest of her life. She was confident, cheeky, bubbly, and the mother hen to all her friends.
This is all because of 25 days…We just don’t want any other family to go through this.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency released the following statement in light of this devastating death:
Women should continue to take their contraceptive pill. These are very safe, highly effective medicines for preventing unintended pregnancy and the benefits associated with their use far outweigh their risks.
The safety of contraceptive pills was reviewed at European level in 2014 and the review confirmed that the risk of blood clots with all contraceptives is small. The benefits of any combined hormonal contraceptive far outweigh the risk of serious side effects – prescribers and women should be aware of the major risk factors for blood clots and the key signs and symptoms.
If women have questions, they should discuss them with their GP or contraceptive provider at their next routine appointment but should keep taking their contraceptive until they have done so.
Our hearts go out to Fallan and her family. Hopefully we can take this lesson and apply it to our own lives. Be safe, consider the risks, and always look out for yourself. Talk to your doctor to figure out the best birth control method for you. I know it seems cliché but your life really might depend on it..
[via Birmingham Mail]