Idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura and birth control

Patient

Q: Hello. I was diagnosed with ITP over four years ago. (I had only one-time bleeding incident; I've had no problems since then and haven't used any medication after that). My question is - can I take birth control pills? (I have really bad cramps for 7 days that affect my life; I take at least 15 pain relievers for them and I'm hoping birth control might be a better solution. Specifically - seasonique, where there are only four periods a year. Is it safe? Thank you very much.

Doctor

A:   One previous episode of idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura (ITP) is not a contraindication to the use of the birth control pills. From the symptoms you describe your menstrual cycle appears to be having a significant impact on your life, causing much discomfort and associated analgesic use. I would advise attending your family doctor for a detailed history of your symptoms, relevant past medical history including; deep venous thrombosis, smoking, pregnancy, high blood pressure, breast cancer; and a complete physical examination. It may be necessary to check routine blood work and current platelet count. Based on the results on these investigations your doctor will prescribe appropriate birth control, tailored to your symptoms and past medical history.

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