Did you know that the effectiveness of the contraceptives you take depends on your genetic makeup? According to new research, not just contraceptives, but other medicines’ effectiveness also depends on one’s genetic makeup, especially hormonal contraceptives.
The study says that women who carry an uncommon genetic variant that produces enzymes breaks down hormones that found in the birth control pill, make them less effective. But we do not know as yet, how much does the effect of this hormone has on the pills.
Dr. Aaron Lazorwitz, the co-author of the study and an obstetrician-gynecologist in the Division of Family Planning in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, said the unintended pregnancy risk for women who carry this genetic variant “cannot be quantified. Not at this point. It’s too early.
This also explains why some doctors have seen patients who say, “I was taking my pill perfectly. I took it every day and I got pregnant, ”Lazorwitz.
Women and men with the variant “keep making the enzyme,” Lazorwitz said.
Older research studies have linked the CYP3A7*1C allele to increased mortality because of breast cancer, chronic progression of leukemia and lung cancer.
“That enzyme — and we know this from other studies as well — seems to break down the steroid hormones,” he said. These hormones are naturally made by our bodies, yet they are also contained in birth control, he explained.
The study definitely raises concerns, but the team doesn’t know how to tackle it yet. Stay tuned for more updates.