Safyral is linked to acute pancreatitis, a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when digestive enzymes inside the pancreas become activated and then attack pancreatic tissue. If the inflammation is not stopped, the pancreas may become severely damaged, spilling harmful digestive enzymes throughout the abdomen. If damaged tissue becomes infected, Safyral pancreatitis can lead to multiple organ system failure, disability, or death.
Safyral is a popular brand of hormonal contraceptive. Each “active” Safyral pill contains synthetic hormones (the same amount as Yasmin birth control). Safyral contains 3-mg of a new, synthetic progestin called drospirenone, and 0.03-mg of a synthetic estrogen called ethinyl estradiol.
What makes Safyral different from Yasmin is that it also contains 0.451-mg of a folate B-vitamin dietary supplement. This is because experts know that some women will get pregnant despite taking birth control, and folate reduces the risk of neural tube birth defects (spina bifida, anencephaly, iniencephaly, etc.).
Women are more likely than men to develop pancreatitis, and this is probably due to the fact that women use hormonal birth control, hormone replacement therapy, and have high hormones during and after pregnancy. Safyral birth control is known to cause pancreatitis in some women. It is though that the estrogen in Safyral (and other hormonal birth control pills) alters the way the body metabolizes lipids, and also possibly increases the circulating levels of triglycerides. This can increase the risk of pancreatitis.
What is Acute Pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis is a disease of a digestive organ called the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing powerful digestive enzymes to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. The pancreas also secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, which trigger cells in the body to stop using reserved energy and start absorbing sugar from the bloodstream.
Pancreatitis occurs when something (such as the hormones in Safyral) activates digestive enzymes within the pancreas. These enzymes begin attacking pancreatic tissue, leading to an inflammation that can quickly spiral out of control. If Safyral pancreatitis is not treated quickly, the inflamed tissue may begin hemorrhaging, leading to even further pancreatic tissue damage.
If the pancreas is severely damaged, it can easily rupture, releasing digestive enzymes into the abdomen. These enzymes quickly break down tissues, fat, and protein they contact, causing severe tissue damage and death.
There is a high risk that dead or damaged abdominal tissue will become infected. An infection can easily spread throughout the abdomen and into the blood. Sepsis, multiple organ system failure, permanent disability, and death can occur due to Safyral pancreatitis.
Signs & Symptoms of Safyral Pancreatitis
Women with no history of pancreatitis or risk factors for the disease have developed Safyral pancreatitis. The most visceral symptom is severe abdominal pain, which may grow worse over time, be worst while lying down, or radiate to the back and other parts of the abdomen.
Symptoms of Safyral pancreatitis include:
- Severe abdominal pain that grows progressively worse
- Pain may radiate to the back, shoulder, or other part of the abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting
- Oily, smelly stools
- Ill appearance
Treatment & Prognosis for Pancreatitis
Safyral pancreatitis is an emergency that must be treated in the hospital. Long-term prognosis varies, depending on how quickly the patient was able to seek care, and whether the physician can stop the inflammation because the pancreas ruptures. If the pancreas spills digestive enzymes into the abdomen, prognosis decreases dramatically.
Most people with pancreatitis will be given powerful pain medication and intravenous nutrition. Many must have surgery to remove dead or damaged tissues inside the abdomen, which can reduce the risk that infection will spread.