Acne medication linked to deaths of 11 Canadian women not prescribed at Sheridan College

The acne medication and birth control linked to the deaths of 11 Canadian women is not prescribed at Sheridan College confirms Kim Hutter, a registered nurse with Sheridan College Health Services. The Toronto Star broke the story about the deaths related to Diane-35 earlier today, leaving many Canadian women questioning their safety.

Health Canada issued a warning about the birth control pill in May 2005, which included the following stipulations:

  • DIANE-35 should not be prescribed for the purpose of birth control alone.
  • DIANE-35 should be discontinued 3 to 4 months after signs of acne have completely resolved.

This advisory led to the banning of Diane-35 in France, yet it can still be legally prescribed by Canadian doctors.

The Toronto Star published the following information in its investigative report:

The records show that since 2000, 11 girls and women — aged 15 to 46 — who took the drug experienced severe and excessive blood clotting in their legs, sudden blockages in their lungs, bleeding in their brains and chest pain before death. Eight were younger than 30.

Hutter explains that she has heard of doctors prescribing it in the past as a treatment for both acne and birth control, effectively dealing with two issues women might face at once. She doesn’t think that doctors are necessarily to blame for over prescribing, saying that, “There are so many drugs that are made for one thing and doctors find out it works for something else.”

Hutter went on to say that hopefully these new findings will be taken into consideration by doctors prescribing the medication.

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