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OTC birth control recommendation

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Amarillo, TX - Birth control pills should be available to all women, with or without a prescription, according to an industry recommendation.  But many in the medical community say removing the doctor from the equation would be a serious detriment to women's health.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently recommended making birth control pills available to all women, with or without a prescription.  The opinion contends that increasing access to birth control would decrease unplanned pregnancies, which currently account for about half of all pregnancies.

But OB/GYN's say drugs as potent as modern oral contraceptives should not be accessible to the general public on grounds they can cause heart attacks or strokes in some women.

"Birth control pills can be fairly dangerous drugs," says Dr. Brian Eades of Women's Healthcare Associates in Amarillo.  "These are not like Tylenol or allergy medicines or antacids.  The potential risks associated with these drugs really are greater, and it's worrisome to a lot of OB/GYN doctors."

The report says women can self-screen for contraindications using a checklist from the World Health Association, but the medical community's argument is that bypassing the doctor could mean many women end up bypassing the entire health care system in the long run.

"Women in general get a higher quality of preventive health care than men do," says Dr. Eades, "and the whole reason they get that higher quality of health care is that they have had an ongoing, consistent relationship with a health care provider that initially developed in the process of discussing and obtaining proper birth control."

And "proper birth control" for many women may not be drugs - it may be a safer option that they simply aren't aware of, as Dr. Eades explains, "That's the biggest concern is improper use, the missed opportunity for education, and the fact that there are other alternatives available that haven't been used effectively, is what leads OB/GYN doctors to feel like maybe that's not the best approach.

The report did mention the possibility that insurance providers may not pay for non-prescription drugs.

If you'd like to read that report, follow the link attached to this story.

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