NuvaRing

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Yes, Birth Control Can Raise Risk of Blood Clots; So Does Pregnancy

The NuvaRing birth control product is a flexible ring which releases hormones. A woman replaces it herself once a month. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

The NuvaRing birth control product is a flexible ring which releases hormones. A woman replaces it herself once a month. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Merck, the drug company that makes the NuvaRing birth control product, announced last week it will pay $100 million to settle thousands of claims from women who believe they were harmed by using the product.

As NPR reported Monday, NuvaRing is the most recent hormone-based kind of birth control to “become the focus of scrutiny.” All hormone-based contraceptives, including the pill, put a woman at increased risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Women need to weigh the risks of pregnancy with the risks of hormonal contraception, experts advise. But the key thing to remember is that the risks remain rare.

Dr. Michael Policar is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at U.C. San Francisco. “If you take a rare event, make it a little more common, it is still a rare event,” he told NPR — but still believes that studies are needed that compare NuvaRing head-to-head with other forms of contraception. Continue reading