Apologies for the long hiatus. I’m now up in Prince George (northern BC) and having a blast finding cool crafters and activists :)
I get weekly updates from Feminist.org, a US-based feminist organization dedicated to research/action that empowers women economically, socially, and politically, and this news feed really jumped out at me:
5/23/2007 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that Lybrel, the first low-dose oral contraceptive that eliminates monthly menstruation, is now approved for use in the US. Taken daily, Lybrel continuously delivers lower doses of the synthetic hormones found in traditional birth control pills, which are usually taken for 21 days followed by seven days of placebo pills. According to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the company that manufactures Lybrel, the regimen is just as effective as other FDA-approved oral contraceptives.
Many women’s health advocates welcome the FDA’s approval of a new option for women. “This pill is safe and effective,” said Feminist Majority Foundation Medical Director Dr. Beth Jordan. “In fact, many doctors have prescribed this regimen to patients — and have used it themselves — for decades. Now we have a dedicated product with years of safety data behind it.”
Based on clinical research, Wyeth found that 59 percent of women taking Lybrel stopped bleeding after six months. Eighteen percent of participants, however, dropped out of the clinical trials due to bleeding and spotting. Wyeth also found that interest in the pill depended on a woman’s personal approach to monthly periods. Fifty percent of women surveyed by Wyeth said they welcomed their periods as an indicator that they were not pregnant, while 25 percent said they saw their periods as a “natural part of womanhood,” according to Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report. In all, about two-thirds of women surveyed were interested in eliminating monthly periods.
Now I, for one, consider menstruation a political event, especially when pharmaceutical companies are involved. What does everyone think about this new drug?
Using drugs to eliminate periods is hardly a new idea (e.g. Depo-Provera) and I am still not convinced they are a good idea.
I am frustrated that society keeps telling me that bleeding every month is something to be cleaned up and fixed. Why aren’t we brought up to celebrate our moon-times and feel connected to our power as females?
I am sure these drug companies are ONLY acting in the best interest of the environment because they KNOW that on average, a woman will throw out about 250-300 pounds of tampons, pads, and applicators in her lifetime (see www.keeper.com for great alternative menstrual products). Thanks guys.
Of course I fully support women who need to use similar drugs to control dysmennorhea or other conditions, but I object that this product will now be marketed to all 12-59 yr. old women as the newest convenience that they cannot live without. I feel like I have to start creating provincial parks in my body to protect my natural functions.
Am I just being reactionary? Let me know!