Did you know that medicines have different generations? As science continues to drive us forward, medicines are tweaked and altered to make them more effective and with fewer unwanted side-effects. Each of these iterations is called a generation.
Since first becoming available in 1960, the birth control pill has gone through four generations, with each generation of combination pill using different types of progestin. First-generation pills are still used today, but generations 2 through 4 are now more popular and, in fact, are all available options in our shop. But newer may not always mean it’s the best fit for you. Weighing different potential side-effects, risks, and costs will help you decide which pill to use.
This set of pills, including Protec (50PHP), contains the progestin levonorgestrel. Of all the generations, it has the lowest risk (not much lower) of venous thrombosis (a blood clot in your veins) but has the highest risk of other side effects like acne, water retention, breakthrough bleeding, and nausea.
This set of pills includes Cybelle (500PHP), which contains the progestin cyproterone acetate. It has a higher risk (not much higher) of venous thrombosis than second-generation pills, but can be very effective for managing acne, excessive body hair growth, hair loss, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
This set of pills includes Liza (680PHP) and Lizelle (720PHP), which both use the progestin drospirenone. The difference between the two options is Lizelle has a lower estrogen dose, which can be good for those who may be sensitive to estrogen side-effects and also lowers the risk of venous thrombosis. Like third generation pills, this generation has a higher risk of clots (not much higher) than second-generation options but can be very effective for managing acne, excessive body hair growth, hair loss, and PCOS. They’ve also shown to help reduce PMS symptoms and are most recommended for women worried about mood swings due to birth control pills.
WEIGHING RISKS vs SIDE-EFFECTS
First let’s tackle the scariest potential side-effect: venous thrombosis. The idea of a blood clot is terrifying, but how at risk are you of developing a clot on a second-, third-, or fourth-generation pill?
It turns out, regardless of which generation you go with, the risk of developing a clot is still lower than if you’re pregnant: women on the pill have a 0.06% chance of developing a clot, with those using 3rd and 4th generation pills having a 0.1% risk. Meanwhile, pregnant women have up to a 0.2% risk of developing a clot, with the risk rising to up to 0.65% in post-partum women. Non-pregnant women who aren’t on the pill have a 0.01-0.05% chance of developing a clot.
The risk of developing a clot goes up if you’re a smoker, over 35 years old, or have a family history of blood clots, so it’s important to share this information with your healthcare professional. But if you don’t have these added risk factors, then the risk is very low.
Meanwhile, with each new generation of the pill, unwanted side-effects like acne, weight gain, hair loss, and mood swings become milder and less likely to happen. On top of that, later generation pills have been shown to be effective against PCOS, severe PMS, and even acne and certain hair issues.
CHOOSE YOUR FIGHTER!
Between this consultation and knowing more about what makes each pill different, you can weigh price differences against the severity of side-effects like weight gain, mood swings, acne, and hair loss; you have a better understanding of how at-risk you might be for developing a blood clot; you know which pill options can help if you have PCOS or are dealing with acne and/or hair growth issues.
Hopefully, a better understanding of generations in the pill will help you find the best option to not bring an accidental new generation into your family!