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14th Jan 2018

Dublin Mother Issues Serious Warning About The Contraceptive Pill After Daughter’s Death

Darragh Berry

In September 2015, 23-year-old Lauren Johnson died from a blood clot and associated hemorrhage in the brain at Beaumont Hospital.

It was determined that the blood clot was caused by the medication which had been prescribed for acne. 

Her mother Sandra from Swords, has told The Irish Independent that women are not aware enough about the dangers of the contraceptive pill.

“The medication that Lauren was prescribed underwent a review by European Medicines Agency in 2013 and was deemed to be safe when prescribed within a restricted indication and strict guidelines were put in place. 

“Lauren did not fall into the restricted category. The medication carries eight times the risk of thromboembolism (where a clot forms in a blood vessel).”

The HSE has outlined risks associated with using the contraceptive pill. However, these risks are not common and they say that the benefits of the pill outweigh the risks.

When talking about blood clots, the HSE states:

“The oestrogen in the pill may cause your blood to clot more readily. If a blood clot develops, it could cause a deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg), pulmonary embolus (clot in your lung), stroke or heart attack.

“The risk of getting a blood clot is very small, but your doctor will check if you have certain risk factors that make you more vulnerable before prescribing the pill. The pill can be taken with caution if you have one of the risk factors below, but should not be taken if you have two or more risk factors.”

Risk factors include:

  • Being over 35 years old
  • Being a smoker or having quit smoking in the last year
  • Being very overweight (the pill should not be taken if your BMI is over 40)
  • Having migraines (you should not take the pill if you have severe or regular migraine attacks, especially if you get aura or a warning sign before an attack)
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having had a blood clot or stroke in the past
  • Having a close relative who had a blood clot when they were younger than 45
  • Being immobile for a long time, for example in a wheelchair or with a leg in plaster

You can find out more information about the contraceptive pill, its side effects and risks here on the HSE website.

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