Birth Control Depo-Provera Associated with An Increased Risk of Breast Cancer in Young Women

At Altman & Altman, LLP our dangerous drug lawyers represent clients that have suffered serious health complications from a medication. One med of concern to us is Depo-Provera, an injectable form of birth control that may be upping the risk of breast cancer in young women. Depo-Provera only has progestin.

Researchers looked at over 1,000 women in the 20-44 age group that received breast cancer diagnoses and over 900 who were breast cancer-free. All of the women are from the Seattle area, and approximately 3% had used the injectable contraception in the last five years.

According to the study, which was led by epidemiologist Dr. Christopher Li at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recent use of the contraceptive for a year or more is linked to a 2.2-fold greater risk of invasive breast cancer. Obesity, family history, pregnancy history, and age didn’t seem to be factors to this risk. (The higher cancer risk, however, appeared to go away within months after cessation of use, while women who only used Depo-Provera for less than year or who had stopped using it for more than a year didn’t show this increased cancer risk. Also, no causal connection was proven.

Li and his colleagues noted that even though the risk connected to Depo-Provera seemed to abate after discontinued use, it is still important to note whenever there possible risks involved with certain kinds of birth controls, especially as there are many alternatives to choose from. For example, a woman who has a history of breast cancer in her family may want to consider other contraception choices besides this one.

However, in US News & World Report, NY Clinical Cancer Center breast surgery director Dr. Freya Schnabel noted that there are limits to this study and more research needs to be done to shed more light on the connection between Depo-Provera and breast cancer.

Depo-Provera is made by Pfizer. The contraception is injected every three months and is used by approximately 1.2 million in this country-that’s 3.2% of contraception users, reports Guttmacher institute. Depo-Provera is the only contraceptive in this country that contains Prempro, the same progestin as the postmenopausal hormone therapy bill.

Other serious side effects linked to Depo-Provera include bone loss, delayed fertility, serious allergic reactions, a higher risk of premature deliveries, osteoporosis, and fractures. It also may be linked to a higher infant and neonatal death rates.

Depo-Provera Birth Control Might Raise Breast Cancer Risk, US News, April 4, 2012

Birth control shots tied to breast cancer risk, study says, NBC News, April 5, 2012

Cancer Research

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If you, your mother, or daughter received a breast cancer diagnosis after taking Depo-Provera you may want to speak with our defective drug law firm. There may be grounds for a Depo-Provera lawsuit against Pfizer and any other responsible parties. One of our products liability lawyers can help you explore your legal options during a free case evaluation.

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