Thursday, March 10, 2005

Birth Control Pills Linked to Depression

Last Update: Monday, February 28, 2005.
"New research shows women taking the oral contraceptive pill are almost twice as likely to be depressed as those who do not. The Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (Australia) studied 60 women, and found that those taking the pill containing both oestrogen and progesterone were almost twice as likely to be depressed as those who did not."

"Studies have shown that the contraceptive pill can lower the levels and metabolism of certain vitamins and minerals in the body, including zinc, copper, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12. These nutrients are essential to control emotions and moods, and deficiencies could account for the depression and increased risk of suicide amongst women taking the pill." J. NUTRIT. & ENVIRON. MED. 1998, 121-7

Please note that the first study was based on women without a history of mood disorders

"Patients becoming significantly depressed while taking oral contraceptives should stop the medication and use an alternate method of contraception in an attempt to determine whether the symptom is drug related. Women with a history of depression should be carefully observed and the drug discontinued if significant depression occurs." LO/OVRAL-28 Warnings and Precautions
(6) Emotional Disorders  

Note: this precaution is included in the prescribing information for most or all oral contraceptives. What prompted me to write on this is my own experience with oral contraceptives and depression. I'm not trying to discourage women from going on the Pill, but rather caution women with a history of depression of this potential side effect.

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