Have you or a loved one suffered from birth control side effects? Hormonal contraceptives have recently been linked to benign intracranial hypertension (BIH), a condition that occurs when pressure around the brain suddenly increases. Lawsuits are now being filed alleging that birth control manufacturers failed to warn the public and medical communities about the risk of benign intracranial hypertension.
What is Ocella?
Ocella is a combined oral contraceptive (COC) that contains progestin and estrogen hormones. The drug works by stopping ovulation and altering the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Prescribing doctors may also recommend Ocella for off-label uses, such as treating acne, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and painful menstrual periods.
Benign Intracranial Hypertension (BIH)
BIH is a condition that occurs when pressure inside the skull increases suddenly, often for no apparent reason. Symptoms tend to mimic those produced by a large brain tumor, except that there is no tumor. Benign intracranial hypertension can occur in children and men, but is most often reported in obese women during their childbearing years.
The cause of BIH in most cases is unknown; however, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hormone-based birth control products can increase the risk that a person contracts the disorder.
Symptoms of BIH
- Blurred vision
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Eye injury (papilledema)
- Buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
- Vision loss
In addition to using hormonal contraceptives, the following factors may increase your risk of getting benign intracranial hypertension:
- Addison disease
- Chronic kidney failure
- Cushing’s disease
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Onset of menstruation (menarche)
Is There a Cure?
Some patients with benign intracranial hypertension recover fully without any vision problems. However, others may suffer irreversible vision loss. Unfortunately, there are no treatments available to correct injury to the optic nerves caused by BIH. Treatment of the condition is focused on stopping vision loss that has already occurred.