May 9, 2022

Birth Control Anniversary!

Birth Control Anniversary!

On October 29, 1959, GD Searle filed an application with the US Food & Drug Administration to license Enovid for use as an oral contraceptive. The trials presented in the application for FDA approval of Enovid as an oral contraceptive were the largest drug trials ever run. In the trials, 897 women had taken 10,427 cycles of the Pill with no side effects the doctors considered harmful.

Those included nausea, weight gain, and depression. There were reports of blood clots, strokes --and possible links to cancer.

On May 9, 1960, the FDA approved the world's first commercially produced birth-control pill, Enovid-10. 

As early as 1962, the manufacturer of the birth control pill Enovid, G.D. Searle and Company, received reports of 132 cases of blood clots in Pill users. Eleven of the cases resulted in death. When women wanted to discuss the side effects with their doctors, their complaints were often dismissed as exaggerated or considered the price that women had to pay in return for such an effective contraceptive.

Searle maintained that there was no conclusive proof that the Pill caused those deaths, and the FDA assured doctors the drug was safe.

The dose was apparently a bit high for contraceptives. 

There were questions regarding it's long term safety, which the FDA avoided by stating it should be used for no more than two years at a time. 

After final approval, the famous journalist and playwright Clare Boothe Luce echoed the thoughts of many when she declared, "Modern woman is at last free as a man is free to dispose of her own body."

For more information, check here.

(as a snarky aside, in contrast, the COVID vaccines were tested for a longer period, with over 40,000 participants)