Birth control pills have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). This severe brain injury can cause chronic headaches, hearing problems, vision problems, and blindness.
What is Beyaz?
Beyaz is an hormonal contraceptive that prevents pregnancy with a combination of hormones, including estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (drospirenone). Beyaz also contains a folic acid supplement (levomefolate), which decreases the likelihood of having a baby with a birth defect if an accidental pregnancy occurs.
Beyaz and Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC)
There are no studies linking Beyaz and pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). However, there is evidence linking exogenous estrogen with PTC, as well as case reports linking progestin-only contraceptives with PTC.
In the 1990s, researchers linked the hormone levonorgestrel in contraceptives with over 50 cases of PTC. Birth control pills are also included in a list of risk-factors for PTC provided by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Other risk-factors include obesity, kidney disease, and being female.
Blood Clots and PTC
The progestin in Beyaz, drospirenone, has been linked to a significantly increased risk of blood clots compared to other progestins. The FDA issued Safety Warnings about this risk in April 2012. Blood clots that form in arteries can potentially travel to the brain and cause a stroke. They can also physically obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and increase pressure inside the skull, causing a condition known as “secondary intracranial hypertension.”
Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) Information
Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) is a brain injury that occurs when there is too much cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull, which puts pressure on the brain and optic nerve. PTC is an outdated term and the disease is now known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).
Headaches and migraines were reported by 5.9% of women on Beyaz in clinical trials, making it the most common adverse reaction. Women on Beyaz who develop new headaches that are persistent or severe should be evaluated by a doctor.
The symptoms of a migraine are very similar to symptoms of headaches from PTC — dull, throbbing pain, usually located one one side of the head, worst in the morning or at night, and often accompanied by visual disturbances, light-sensitivity, and nausea.
One of the most serious complications of PTC is papilloedema. This complication occurs when intracranial fluid in the skull puts pressure on the optic disc and damages the optic nerve. The characteristic symptom of papilloedema is double-vision. Other symptoms may include blurry vision, progressive vision loss, and even blindness.