Most of the QS disadvantages that are known are fairly mild and can be avoided.
Quinacrine Sterilization is still considered to be a new procedure for female sterilization and birth control. As with any new procedure, there may be potential consequences that have yet to be discovered.
The following are some of the known QS disadvantages:
The QS procedure requires at least 2 visits to the clinic. Other contraceptive methods, like an IUD or Depo Provera injection, only require 1 visit to the clinic.
The patient must use another reliable contraceptive method for 12 weeks following the first QS insertion.
QS might be less reversible than surgical sterilization methods. This is because of the way Quinacrine affects the fallopian tubes.
QS can fail (a patient might still become pregnant) if the fallopian tubes are not completely blocked.
QS does not protect the patient from a tubal pregnancy (although studies do not show that QS increases the chances for tubal pregnancies).
Although mild, there are several known side effects that are commonly experienced in QS patients.
Does QS cause birth defects?
In over 100,000 QS sterilizations, we have not seen a birth defect in an infant exposed to quinacrine in early pregnancy (when a woman was unknowingly pregnant at the time of quinacrine insertion) or when a woman became pregnant in the weeks following quinacrine insertion. However, there have only been a limited number of full-term pregnancies because we strongly recommend that women who are faced with either of these two circumstances obtain an abortion as soon as arrangements can be made. If she is opposed to abortion for herself, QS may not be a good choice for her. She should consider either surgical sterilization or temporary contraception methods. She should carefully consider what action she is prepared to take faced with either of these circumstances before deciding to get QS.
Does QS cause cancer?
QS researchers believe that if there is any risk of cancer with QS, then the risk must be very small. Quinacrine has been used as an antibiotic by more than 100 million people during its first 65 years of use, always in larger doses than for QS. There was never any mention that this drug might cause cancer because there was no link suspected, despite this enormous human experience. Not until 1993, when the fertility control potential of the drug became clearly documented, was the charge first made that QS may cause cancer. Although unproved scientifically, much media attention has unfortunately been given to the opposition and their accusations. Scientific evidence suggests that this method does not cause cancer. One study in Chile that has followed 1500 women for 19 years, has found no increase in the risk of cancer. A definitive answer awaits a much longer study in a much larger number of women.