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All birth control pills said to carry same risks

Birth control pills containing the active ingredient drospirenone carry the same health risks as similar contraceptives on the market.

Those are the findings of a review of birth control pills conducted by Swissmedic, the country's medicines supervisory authority, after a 16-year-old woman who took the oral contraceptive Yasmin became severely disabled.

Nine women in Switzerland have died from complications connected to oral contraceptives since 1990, including a woman in September who had been taking Yaz, a lower-dose version of Yasmin.

Both drugs are produced by German firm Bayer.

The report, released on Thursday, found the risk of venous thromboembolisms triggered by drospirenone was the same for all birth control pills, particularly during the first year of taking the drug.

The risk of an embolism increases with the woman's age and the oestrogen content of the pill, the report found. Other factors that could compound the risk include smoking and obesity.

Swissmedic recommends that oral contraceptives only be prescribed after careful evaluation by a doctor. and agencies