Acute pancreatitis is a side effect of Safyral birth control pills. The hormones in Safyral can cause the pancreas (a digestive organ) to become inflamed. If the inflammation is not controlled, the pancreas may begin hemorrhaging, leading to tissue damage. Pancreatitis can also cause the pancreas to rupture, spilling digestive enzymes throughout the abdomen. Safyral pancreatitis may cause severe injury, disability, or death.
Safyral is a birth control pill which contains the same amounts of hormones as Yasmin, but also contains an additional folate B-vitamin supplement. Safyral and Yasmin each contain 3-mg of the hormone drospirenone and 0.03-mg of the hormone ethinyl estradiol. Unfortunately, these hormones have been associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis.
Safyral contains folate to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects in the unlikely event that a woman accidentally gets pregnant. In order to be 99% effective, a woman must take one Safyral pill every day, at the same time each day. Many women are not consistent, however, and around 9 per 100 inconsistent pill users will get pregnant. The folate in Safyral reduces the risk of spina bifida, iniencephaly, anencephaly, and other life-threatening neural tube defects.
Women are more likely than men to develop pancreatitis, probably due to the fact that women are more likely to ingest hormonal medications or have high hormones after pregnancy. Pancreatitis is a known side effect of many hormonal birth control pills, including Safyral. Experts believe the hormones in Safyral can cause pancreatitis. The synthetic estrogen ingredient in Safyral alters the way the body metabolizes lipids, potentially increasing blood-triglyceride levels.
What is Acute Pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that occurs when the enzymes in the pancreas somehow become activated, and begin attacking pancreatic tissue. The pancreas is an important organ in the digestive system. It is responsible for secreting powerful enzymes into the intestines to help the body break down foods. After a person eats food, the pancreas also secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, which tell cells to absorb energy (in the form of glucose) from the bloodstream.
Pancreatitis is a medical emergency. Without immediate anti-inflammatory treatment, the entire pancreas can become severely inflamed. This can cause blood vessels to rupture, leading to hemorrhagic pancreatitis and the death of tissues inside the pancreas.
By far the most problematic aspect of pancreatitis is that the pancreas may rupture, spilling powerful digestive enzymes into the abdominal cavity. These enzymes are very good at breaking down fats and proteins, and when they come in contact with abdominal tissues, they cause severe damage to everything they touch.
Dead or damaged tissues in the abdomen are highly susceptible to infection. Once the infection begins, it may spread to the blood, damaged tissues nearby, or other organs. This can cause severe organ damage, organ failure, permanent disability, or death.
Signs & Symptoms of Safyral Pancreatitis
The most prominent symptom of Safyral pancreatitis is abdominal pain. The pain is felt in the upper-left side or middle of the abdomen. It may be worse after eating high-fat foods. It may grow gradually worse, growing constant and more severe.
Symptoms of Safyral pancreatitis include:
- Severe abdominal pain that grows progressively worse
- Pain may radiate to the back, shoulder, or other part of the abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting
- Oily, smelly stools
- Ill appearance
Treatment and Prognosis
Safyral pancreatitis is a life-threatening medical emergency and must be treated in a hospital. If the inflammation is not controlled or stopped, it can progress to multiple organ system failure and death. Pancreatic failure can cause severe disability later in life. Most people with pancreatitis are treated with medications to control pain, and intravenous nutrients so they do not need to eat. If pancreatitis progresses to a severe stage involving infection, aggressive treatment of the infection is vital for survival. Many people must undergo surgery to have damaged tissues removed.