Lexie Nash (16) was sent home from school with a severe headache and neck pain in December 2017 just four weeks after being prescribed a new brand of contraceptive pill. But 24 hours later she was vomiting violently and had double vision.
Doctors at first thought it was meningitis, but a CT scan revealed the cause was actually cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) – where blood clots form in the sinuses which drain blood from the brain.
Her parents, Caroline (38) and Paul (47), were told to prepare themselves for the worst as medics battled to stabilise the teenager’s blood pressure and heart rate.
But after four weeks in hospital she miraculously recovered and was discharged from the hospital – although she’s still suffering from fatigue, dizziness, headaches and slurred speech.
Lexie, from Gloucestershire in England, had been taking contraceptive pills for nine months to control her heavy periods. But she’d recently been prescribed a new brand, which her doctors are allegedly linking to her blood clots.
“I was advised to take the pill to control my periods, but I never in a million years thought I could end up in the hospital,” Lexie said, opening up about the incident for the first time.
“I’m an active person and never had any health complications before. I wasn’t made aware of any risks of the pill when it was prescribed until I fell ill with a critical condition.
“When it all started, it felt like my head was going to explode so my mum picked me up from school. As the pain continued, she took me to out-of-hours medical service,” Lexie said.
“I’d never had a migraine before so I assumed they were right when they sent us home – but the pain was getting worse.
“I was projectile vomiting and could see two of everything, it was terrifying.
“My mom and dad rushed me to the hospital again and I held it together until I noticed my dad crying – and then I knew it must be bad.
“I had blood clots on my brain and down my neck and multiple haemorrhages behind my eye which had caused the double vision.
“I’m so shocked this has happened to me from taking the pill, I wasn’t warned by the doctors who prescribed it to me.”
The teen was unable to communicate for four days after being diagnosed with the blood clots and doctors informed her parents to be prepared to say goodbye.
She spent four weeks at Bristol Children’s Hospital while medics reduced the clots using a blood thinner infusion, and needed four months off school.
As her intracranial pressure – a build-up of pressure around the brain – was five times higher than the average person’s, she also needed two lumbar punctures.
But tests in January 2019 showed the intracranial pressure in her skull was still too high, meaning she must take medication to prevent migraines.
“After being discharged, I still suffered severe headaches and was admitted again to Gloucester Hospital where a lumbar puncture was my only option, but it failed twice.
“On the third try it was successful – but after a couple of weeks I was admitted to Gloucester Hospital for reflex issues, muscle weakness, vision problems and terrible head pains.
“Doctors found out the pressure in my skull had risen again and over the next three months I had four more lumbar punctures as the pressure around my brain kept rising.
“After that it was decided it was getting risky performing lumbar punctures too often and I was put on medication to reduce the pressure, which gradually started working and improved my sight too.
“This gave me a chance to focus on strength.
“Now, a year later I’m still not 100%. I suffer from fatigue and dizziness, short-term memory loss and I have problems with my speech, terrible head pains and body twitches,” she said.
Lexie’s mom revealed that she had no idea the pill could be that dangerous.
“I was heartbroken, I was so scared we might lose her,” Caroline said.
“I was worried sick, I didn’t think she’d ever be the same again. She was unable to talk and could only communicate with thumbs up or down.
“When we were told to ‘be prepared’ at the prospect of losing her I was scared and couldn’t hold it together, it was a horrific experience.
“I want all moms to always trust their mother’s instinct and if something doesn’t seem right, go straight to the hospital.
“I was furious when the doctor told me Lexie’s clots were due to the pill, I had no idea it could be this dangerous.”
A spokesman for the contraceptive pill Lexie used said that its safety and efficacy was established in clinical trials in women aged 18 years and over.
“As with all medications, there can be side effects for some, and these are outlined in the accompanying patient information leaflet, which can be found in the Marvelon pill package.
“In the package leaflet for Marvelon, there’s information on important things to know about hormonal contraception, including; what it’s used for, what the user should know before she starts using Marvelon, when should she not use Marvelon, any warning and precautions regarding use, and potential side effects.”
Source: Magazine Features
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