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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Why only 99.5%?

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Author Topic: Why only 99.5%?
lilmsirishrage
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I was wondering...why is perfect pill use only 99.5% (give or take) effective? I've found the following reasons online why the pill fails:

1. missing pills
2. vomiting or diarrhea
3. interaction with other medicine

Are there any other reasons the pill sometimes fails, even with perfect use?


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Gumdrop Girl
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it can depend on a person's metabolism. it's important to find the dose that's appropriate for your body type, otherwise, that can impact how effective it is.

For example, birth control hormones are all fat soluble. when a woman has a higher percentage of body fat, this can mean she will metabolise the hormones faster than a leaner woman. in these cases, it is a good idea to a physician to prescribe a slightly stronger dose of hormones to account for the difference. So even if a woman with 35% body fat takes her pills 100% reliably, if the pill isn't strong enough, there is a chance it will fail.

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unity
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Is this the same with Depo-Provera? It's 99.7%, I never knew what the .3% would be caused from besides missing a shot or other medicines...
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Milke
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99.whatever% type statistics are for perfect use, so missing shots, forgetting to take pills, vomiting, and so on, do not factor into these numbers.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

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unity
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I'm aware of this, my question was what causes that extra .whatever percent chance of pregancy.
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logic_grrl
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Basically - human bodies are idiosyncratic and cranky .

Even if you leave out issues like body fat percentage, there's a fair amount of evidence that everyone's body chemistry and metabolism is a little different, and different people's bodies may process the same chemical a litle differently. And some people have allergies, some people have odd reactions to particular chemicals, some people's bodies can't break down certain chemicals, some people's hormones do funny things, and so on.

So it's almost impossible for any medication to be 100% effective for everyone. What you get at best is a med that will work for most people most of the time. On that basis, over 99% effectiveness with perfect use is very impressive.

But human bodies are cranky and unpredictable, so even with perfect use you never get 100%.

So - another good reason to use a condom (you knew we were going to say that, didn't you? ).


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Londongirl
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Hear hear, and also an individual's body will behave differently at different times.

Think about how differently people can react to alcohol at different times - sometimes a given amount of a particular drink makes you really drunk, sometimes not, sometimes makes you throw up, sometimes leaves you with the hangover from hell.....but its not always the same. Response to alcohol is affected by how much you ate, what you ate, when you ate it, how much water you drink before and after, how used to alcohol your liver is, to name but a few factors.

There are basically too many factors involved in how the body processes any substance, so that's another reason why you can't get 100% perfect use of any medication. We are not even aware of some of these factors, say is your gut processing stuff a little faster today, but not so much that it makes you ill. It is just impossible to be aware of every factor that could affect the way contraceptive hormones are going to be processed by your body, or to compensate for all of them in the way contraceptive hormones are manufactured and taken.

Given all that and the variation between people logic_grrl already mentioned, 99%+ effectiveness seems a really excellent result.

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Londongirl
Thirtysomething and not actually counting
Who the **** is Londongirl?

[This message has been edited by Londongirl (edited 09-26-2004).]


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