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21-year-old woman dies after taking contraceptives for less than a month

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Brian and Julia Kurek (Photo credit: BPM)

May 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A 21-year-old British woman collapsed and died from a blood clot in her lungs, which was caused, doctors told her parents, by a prescribed birth control pill she had used for only 25 days.

Fallan Kurek of Tamworth, Staffordshire, who worked as a teaching assistant, was prescribed the hormonal contraceptive Rigevidon by her family doctor. She was told to take the pill for three months to see if the drug would help regulate her menstruation.

After taking the daily drug dose for less than one month, she told her parents she was experiencing breathlessness and pain in her chest and legs.

Fallan's father, Brian, told the Telegraph that he took his daughter to Sir John Peel Hospital in Tamworth where staff ran some tests but concluded there was nothing wrong with the young woman.

"They originally said everything was fine. They said she had probably bruised her sternum," Fallan's mother, Julia, told the Telegraph. "They said to go home and take some Ibuprofen and paracetemol. If symptoms continue then go see your GP.”

"We thought nothing more of it," Julia said.. “She still said she had this little niggling pain, but it wasn't bothering her too much.”

Four days later, Fallan awoke feeling breathless again.

"She had said she felt fine, but when she sat up in bed she started getting breathless again. She took her pill, then she got up, and then began walking downstairs,” Brian said. "But as she got half way down the stairs she collapsed. I got to the bottom of the stairs and she just went limp in my arms."

Fallan vomited and began turning blue as she struggled for breath, while her father called for an ambulance.

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Paramedics arrived and began assessing the still-conscious young woman, but when Fallan stopped breathing they began emergency CPR.

She was rushed to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, where she was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit.

Scans showed that Fallan had a large blood clot in one lung, which was blocking blood flow to her heart.

"They asked me whether there was any heart problems in the family, or if Fallan had taken drugs,” Julia said, adding that her answer was, “Definitely not.”

"The third question was, 'Is she on the pill?' I said, 'Yes, is that relevant?' And he said, 'We know what it is' and off he went.”

"Brian and I just looked at each other, we couldn't believe it," Julia said.

"I couldn't believe nobody had said the pill could do this."

Fallan died on May 14, after three days of intensive care proved futile. The cause of death was recorded as a pulmonary embolism in her lung.

Brian and Julia said doctors told them the blood clot was caused by the contraceptive pill she had been taking for just 25 days.

"Medics know the pill can cause blood clots. We can't bring her back, all we can do is maybe save another life," Fallan's parents said.

"Fallan was looking forward to the rest of her life. She was confident, cheeky, bubbly, and the mother hen to all her friends,” they added. “We just don't want any other family to go through this."

Rigevidon, the contraceptive which allegedly killed Fallan, is manufactured by the Hungarian pharmaceutical company Gedeon Ritcher Plc. It is composed of two drugs, ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel.

The British Medical Journal says that contraceptives containing newer forms of synthetic hormones, such as drospirenone, pose two to three times a greater risk of serious or deadly side effects than older contraceptives containing levonorgestrel.

However, users of the older generations of contraceptive pills are still subject to a much higher risk of blood clots than women who don't use contraception.

The dangers of contraceptive pills are outlined in the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), which states that users of hormonal contraceptives are three times more likely to develop superficial venous thrombosis, and have a 4- to 11-times greater risk for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism than those who do not take hormonal contraception.

The risk is even higher for those who are genetically predisposed to blood clots.

Fallan's parents said they were told that an inquest into their daughter's death will be conducted by the South Staffordshire coroner.

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