Friday, November 24, 2006

Public Service Announcement: Medical Information Update

For those of you who were asking me in comments at Echidne's the other day about the Canadian version of Ortho Evra, today Health Canada issued a health warning about it today, saying that yes, my doctor was right, the Canadian version of the patch does have less of the active ingredient in it than the US version, but that it may, inconclusively, carry similar risks.

Note: My doctor told me from the outset that the patch had a slightly higher risk of adverse health problems than the pill to begin with, but that the most important factors were that I was a non-smoker, under the age of 35, and not overweight. If you are a low-risk patient and you can't take the pill, it's a decent tradeoff.

Ortho Evra and Lamisil: For those of you who have gotten here looking for drug interaction information, I spoke to my pharmacist, who spoke to a representative at Ortho about being on the patch while taking Lamisil, and they said they had had some reports of negative interactions, possibly leading to unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. The reason for the negative interaction is that Lamisil interferes with liver function, and the patch requires hepatic (liver) metabolism for the body to use the hormone in it. In my case, being on the two drugs at the same time just gave me a four-month menstrual period, but if you're on both drugs, and sexually active, you might want to use a backup method of contraception (like a condom) as well.

A Note on Hormonal Contraceptives and Oral Antibiotics: Keep in mind, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why you shouldn't rely on the pill while on oral antibiotics; gut metabolism is not hepatic metabolism. In that case, the adverse reaction is in the stomach, so if you are on Evra and oral antibiotics, you should not have a drug interaction at all, since the former is processed by the liver and the latter by the GI tract.

Obligatory Legal Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and don't play one on tv. If you have questions or concerns, consult your local MD. Information in this post is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis. When dealing with issues of birth control, always err on the side of paranoia.

This has been a public service announcement from Interrobang's Internationale. The time at the tone is "Soup is Good Food."


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