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RCGP to remind all GPs about risks of contraceptive pill

The RCGP is going to remind all GPs to tell patients about the risks of the contraceptive pill, following an ITV investigation into recent deaths.

Although rare, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are two of the most serious complications linked to taking the contraceptive pill.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP honorary treasurer, told ITV the college would send out a memo in its weekly blog to over 50,000 GPs.

She told the news channel: ‘GPs and practice nurses are highly trained in how to issue and dispense medication for contraception and they should all have a clear understanding that deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are one of the most serious risks associated with any combined contraceptives.

’So already they should be trained but a reminder that this is an issue is always timely.’

ITV has interviewed people affected by serious side effects from the pill, including Louise Palfreyman, who underwent brain surgery after a blood clot caused her to have a stroke 10 months ago, and the family of 21-year-old Fallan Kurek from Staffordshire, who died afte suffering a ‘massive’ pulmonary embolism last year.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Met Helen Stokes-Lampard recently and was really impressed, and this only furthers that opinion. Absolutely the correct response - "we all know this but there's no harm in having a reminder".
    Much better than grovelling and apologising.

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  • Hope they will remind a practice in S Wales where a woman who had weighed up the pros and cons and decided not to use HRT was told in school marm tones 'that this what we do in this surgery'.....ie prescribe HRT - without any kind of consultation. Ok it's not contraception but it's likely she had the same attitude regarding contraception. .....another lady though had the same kind of experience with contraceptives.was simply told by the GP that he would prescribe 'the pill' with no information whatsoever except stating that it was the safest of any options. She decided not to take them as the quality of advice possibly mirrored his lack of knowledge. The RCGP's letter is timely.

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  • You are 40x more likely to have a DVT and PE when pregnant than on the OCP.....just saying

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  • Harley Thespaniel

    The RCGP remind GPs that the RCGP still exists.

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  • May I remind the RCGP that an average appointment time is ten minutes. There is a limit to what you can convey in ten minutes.

    Would they prefer us to prioritise how to take the pill correctly, so that they don't get pregnant and experience 40 times the risk of dvt, or should we spend our time telling them about the small print risks ?

    GPs are put in an impossible position by all these diktats. We cannot obey them all in ten minutes.

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  • fiddling while Rome burns

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  • 11.49pm.....you are risking it if you don't give comprehensive advice...the consequences of adverse effects are too serious not to

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  • Refuse 10 min appts

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  • Walk across the road, at a zebra crossing and the lights are red, and look both ways, and very sadly on a rare occasion you could still get knocked over.

    Minimising risks and explaining them does not unfortunately negate them, so on rare occasions despite best practice and all warnings the serious consequences can effect someone, especially when using such large volumes of a common medicine.

    Similar low odds of winning lottery but someone does, and sadly only way to avoid risk is not to take medicine or undergo procedure.

    However as mentioned above, the risk of not taking COC is pregnancy and risk of DVT/PE in pregnancy is far higher than COC risk, and if someone is susceptible to DVT they will be at higher risk either way.

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  • I am 11:49

    Yes I do mention the dvt risk which is why in an average morning I run at least half an hour late. I just object to ivory towers telling me how to do my job while doing little to improve my working conditions.

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