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Birth control pills have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). This severe brain injury can cause migraine headaches, double-vision, and even permanent blindness.

What is Ocella?

Ocella is an oral birth control pill that has been on the market since 2008. It contains a combination of two hormones, estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progestin (drospirenone). Ocella is the generic version of Yasmin.

Ocella and Pseudotumor Cerebri

There is no consensus as to what causes pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). However, experts warn that certain birth control pills are a risk-factor. PTC is also more common in women than men. One popular contraceptive hormone, levonorgestrel, was linked to PTC in 1995.

Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) Information

Pseudotumor cerebri occurs when there is too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This increases pressure, producing symptoms that are similar to a growing tumor. The only way to conclusively diagnose PTC is with a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) and treatment may require brain surgery to drain fluid.

Symptoms of PTC may include:

  • Headaches: Migraine headaches are extremely painful. In clinical trails, nearly 11% of women on Ocella developed migraines and headaches.
  • Vision loss: Pressure on the optic nerve (papilloedema) can cause blurry vision, double vision, vision loss, and permanent blindness. Once the nerve is damaged, there is no cure.
  • Hearing problems: PTC is associated with tinnitus, a heading problem that causes ringing or other abnormal sounds in the brain.
  • And more

Blood Clots

Ocella increases the risk of arterial and venous blood clots. In rare cases, these blood clots travel to the brain and cause strokes. Blood clots in the brain can also obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This can increase intracranial pressure, in a condition known as “second intracranial hypertension.”


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