Disclaimer: I am not against the use of birth control including Annovera. I am against not having informed consent.
UPDATE: I added the word ‘My’ to the title
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a few OBGYN’s, and other providers, who expressed their excitement and preference for prescribing Annovera birth control ring as their understanding was that the Annovera birth control ring did not raise SHBG due to the novel type of progesterone (Segesterone Acetate) and containing very low levels of ethinyl estradiol and not having androgenic activity.
I also had the opportunity to speak with an Annovera drug rep/vendor and we had a private conversation regarding their new birth control ring as I had never heard of them before. We discussed the ring product itself, how it is used, the duration of use, and that it has a “novel type of progesterone”.
Having experienced significant vestibular and vaginal atrophy due to birth control use, high SHBG and vulvo/vaginal hormone receptor problems myself, I was very curious about this new birth control option and what it could mean for so many biological females! This ring sounded like it could prevent the occurrence of so many side effects that cause dyspareunia and vulvodynia related symptoms of daily life, what a wonderful and revolutionary product!
Or so I thought….
I expressed my concerns about birth control use and the many vulvo/vaginal problems it can cause including the raising of SHBG. The Annovera drug rep assured me that their birth control ring does not increase SHBG. While I understand that this is hearsay, the fact that multiple prescribing medical professionals on separate occasions made this statement to me (as they too were very excited about the Annovera ring and the relief it will bring to their patients) it says this information is originating from somewhere and/or someone and being spread to those who are able to prescribe this medication.
Having NO androgenic activity is no the same as being ANTI-androgenic which is how you manage the rising SHBG levels, this may be where the initial confusion arose from about how the new progesterone works. I don’t know where the misinformation or confusion is originating from within the TherapeuticsMD drug company but what’s most important here in this situation is that the prescribing professionals know of the correct information regarding this birth control.
My pressing concern is that prescribing professionals currently have incorrect info and are perpetuating the spread of this incorrect info and possibly negatively affecting their patients who may or may not have vulvo/vaginal or other sexual health and/or pain problems.
Here is the data straight from the drug makers prescribing pamphlet and 2 independent clinical studies showing that SHBG does in fact rise with the use of the Annovera birth control ring starting at month 6 and has a rise of 85% to 100% above normal levels by month 13!
That info is in direct opposition of what the drug reps are saying about this birth control ring and what many of the provider’s I spoke to recently believe.
I’d say that’s a bit of a problem.
Please share this info so that those who may have the incorrect information regarding the Annovera birth control ring (or any birth control that contains the combination of Segesterone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol) can be better informed providers to their patients, and have better informed patients, as we cannot afford more false hopes due to poorly informed parties. Patients look to providers to have the correct information about treatments and drugs recommended to them.
Please stop relying solely on what a drug rep tells you about a product or what a colleague relays to you and take a few minutes to do a PubMed search (or clinical research journal of your choice) on the medication and treatments you recommend and prescribe to patients as you can see that a simple misunderstanding by someone can have cascading effects on an industry and population of people who are suffering.
Patients and those taking a birth control that contains Segesterone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol–please just be aware that if you were told that this birth control won’t cause the same sexual side effects that others do due to the new type of progesterone and low levels of estrogen in the product, this claim is untrue. A keyword internet search of the medications you are on and “sexual side effects” will usually return results if there are known instances. Sometimes the info is only contained in medical journals and it’s OK if you don’t understand the medical jargon.
Ask me for help!
That’s what I do. I take the medical jargon and I turn it into info that is understandable by those who don’t read that “language”.
You can also ask your doctor or a ‘SOME’ doc for help in understanding and interpreting the info. But get informed about the things your doctors are prescribing you as you can see that sometimes info gets lost or spread absolutely incorrectly as in this case.
I know that birth control is needed, we just also need to know how it affects us as well so when (if) things go wrong it is much easier to determine the cause and a quicker fix can be found. So many biological females are suffering due to birth control side effects and don’t know that there is a correlation AND causation simply because they aren’t pregnant and their periods are normal and don’t know that there are SO many more side effects of hormone based contraceptives.
I believe the responsibility lies on both the medial provider and the patient to fix this knowledge gap.
The medical provider needs to start having first hand knowledge about the medications they are prescribing and not blindly trusting the word of another. Look at the data. It’s plain as day and easy to find.
Also, as patients we to start reading the pamphlets that come with medications and not blindly take what is prescribed to us. The side effects are listed, they are required to be. If your medication doesn’t come with your prescription or you threw it away, it is an easy internet search away.
Either way, both sides of this equation need to take the few minutes to be better informed.