The popular combination oral birth control pill Gianvi has recently been linked to pancreatitis and a number of other severe side effects. Mounting research and numerous case studies have found that the drospirenone contained in Gianvi may increase potassium levels in the blood, which can lead to pancreatitis. Signs and symptoms of Gianvi-induced pancreatitis may include mild to severe abdominal pain, often with nausea, vomiting and fever.
What is Pancreatitis?
The pancreas is a long, flat gland tucked behind the stomach between the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum) and spleen. It plays a fundamental role in both digestion and metabolism. These functions may be severely impacted by pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition that occurs when pancreatic digestive enzymes become active within the gland and attack the pancreas itself.
Signs & Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis can be acute — appearing suddenly and lasting for just a few days — or it can be chronic, developing gradually and persisting over a prolonged period of time. Both varieties of the disease may be characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- upper abdominal pain
- abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
- tenderness when touching the abdomen
- losing weight without trying
- oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)
Moderate cases of acute pancreatitis may improve on their own with simple dietary changes, but more severe cases may require emergency medical intervention to avoid life-threatening complications. Chronic pancreatitis is usually treated with lifestyle changes and enzyme supplements to improve digestion, and occasionally with surgery.