Despite being one of the most widely-prescribed birth control pills in the United States, Ocella has recently been linked to strokes and other serious side effects. The drospirenone contained in Ocella and other similar contraceptives has been found to increase potassium levels in the blood, which can lead to various adverse health complications including strokes. Signs and symptoms of an Ocella-induced stroke may include numbness or tingling on one side of the body, vision changes, difficulty speaking, and sudden problems with walking or balance.
What’s the Problem with Ocella?
The active ingredient contained in Ocella is a so-called ‘fourth generation’ synthetic progestin known as drospirenone. Mounting research and numerous case studies have found that drospirenone increases potassium levels in the blood, thereby promoting conditions in the body in which a stroke or other serious side effects may occur. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received numerous adverse event reports linking Ocella and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills to strokes.
Ocella Stroke Overview
A stroke or ‘brain attack’ occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and severe brain damage occurs. When cells in a particular region of the brain die, abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. Abilities typically affected by a stroke include speech, movement, and memory. The severity of the stroke depends on where the event occurs and how much damage the brain has endured.
Signs and Symptoms
Telltale signs of an Ocella-induced stroke may include:
- numbness on one side of the body
- loss of vision / problems with vision
- change in alertness
- sudden intense headache
Unfortunately, if a stroke victim is not treated promptly, he or she may suffer from permanent brain damage, loss of movement, and even death.
Treatment & Prognosis (Outlook)
Treatment for a stroke can only begin once the patient makes it to the hospital. Strokes are the most damaging within the first few hours after they occur, so the sooner the patient receives treatment, the better the overall outcome. The specific course of treatment depends on whether the stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic) or by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic). For ischemic strokes, treatment focuses on restoring blood flow, while hemorrhagic strokes are managed by controlling bleeding.
Strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide. Fortunately, mortality rates have been steadily declining over the past several years. In fact, more than 75% of patients survive a first stroke during the first year, and over half survive five years or longer.
Side Effects of Ocella
Along with strokes, Ocella and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills may cause the following serious side effects:
- Heart Attack
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Blood Clots
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Gallbladder Disease
- Hepatic Adenoma
- Sudden Death