The pill has a dubious reputation: it protects against unwanted pregnancy but poses a risk to women's health. Thousands of women have suffered thrombosis and stroke in the past decades. However, says gynecologist Irène Dingeldein, the pill has its positive aspects as well.
Irène Dingeldein is a gynecologist and president of the Suisse Gynecology Association (Swiss Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, SGGG).
SRF News: Manufacturer Bayer had to publish the results of observational studies on its "Valette" tablet, at the behest of Swissmedic. It showed: "Valette" carries twice the risk of thrombosis compared to older preparations. What does that mean?
Irène Dingeldein: We've known for some time that the "Valette" pill has a higher risk of thrombosis than older contraceptive pills. That’s why I never prescribe “Valette” as a first choice. Only when specific problems such as acne or severe menstrual pain are present and affected patients do not respond to the older pill do they get "Valette".
The risk of thrombosis when taking pills is eight times lower than that of a pregnant woman.
Nonetheless, these patients present a higher risk of thrombosis …
The risk of thrombosis is always relative: When you take the pill, it is eight times less than in pregnant women. So you can't really talk about the high risk of thrombosis – even if it's higher than for women not taking the pill.
In light of the pill debate, is women's demand for alternatives to contraception increasing?
This demand is growing enormously – women are increasingly interested in hormone-free contraception. So the spiral, even those without or with very low doses of hormones, is on the rise. Women who take the pill are already almost in the minority, even among very young women.
All women want to return to nature when it comes to preventing them.
Everyone wants to get back to nature. Many are interested in the hormone-free symptom-thermal method. However, this is certainly not the best for young people, as it is not the safest method.
Despite this, billions are still being administered worldwide with birth control pills. With what arguments does pharmacultis try to convince itself to prescribe a pill?
Some manufacturers do not try to convince us of their product at the same price as before.
The contraceptive pill also has numerous positive effects.
In general, it should not be forgotten that the pill has many positive effects: Women who have acne or who have severe menstrual pains benefit greatly from their intake. The contraceptive pill has also been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
By what criteria do you choose among many preparations a tablet that is appropriate for your patient?
As the first pill I certainly prescribe an older second generation pill. I don't choose the manufacturer. There are some second generation pills that are offered as generic and are very good.
The interview was conducted by Daniel Hofer.