Side Effects Of Yaz®, Yasmin®, And Ocella® Birth Control Medications
Numerous contraceptives flood into the market each year, as many women opt for oral birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. In 2006, the new medication Yaz® set itself apart from the pack with marketing claims that the contraceptive also treated acne and severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, patients soon discovered another effect of the pills: an increased risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.
Severe Side Effects of Yaz and Other Drospirenone Birth Control Pills
Yaz, Yasmin®, and Ocella® all contain the active ingredient drospirenone, a synthetic form of estrogen. This synthetic hormone is relatively new to the U.S. market, and has not been as thoroughly tested as older contraceptive methods. In recent years, drospirenone has been proven to cause a variety of serious side effects, including:
- Blood clots. An FDA study revealed that Yaz users suffered an increased risk of blood clots, a percentage 75 times higher than users of other birth control pills, while other researchers discovered that women ages 15 to 49 taking drospirenone could see triple the risk of developing blood clots than non-users.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Uncontrolled blood clot formation can cause problems if the clots become lodged throughout the body. A blood clot inside one of the large veins in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) can cause pain, swelling, and may require surgery to remove.
- Pulmonary embolism. A blood clot that becomes lodged in the lungs may block one of the pulmonary arteries, cutting off the blood supply and making it harder for your lungs to provide oxygen to the rest of the body. The risk of pulmonary embolism in Yaz users is highest in the first year, but can happen at any time.
- Strokes. A stroke is caused by a blood clot in or near the brain. The clot interrupts the blood circulation and necessary oxygen to the brain, and can result in a coma, a vegetative state, or death.
- Hyperkalemia. Drospirenone has been shown to inhibit the body’s electrolyte and water levels, causing a dangerous increase in potassium levels. Elevated potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can cause a patient’s heart to stop suddenly, with the only noticeable symptoms being muscle weakness and heart palpitations.
- Heart attacks. In 2008, the FDA added a black-box warning to Yaz and Yasmin birth control pill labels, warning women about the risks of serious heart problems. Elevated potassium levels, heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), muscle weakness and fatigue, and blood clots all increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
- Gallbladder problems. Yaz increases cholesterol levels in bile and slows down movement of the gallbladder, leaving many patients with painful and irritating gallstones. These stones form when calcium builds up, inflaming the tissues of the gallbladder and leading to gallbladder disease.
Drugmakers Settle Many Yaz Claims After Injury Reports Flood In
Over 8,000 cases of blood clots and adverse reactions to Yaz and Yasmin were settled as of 2014, costing drug manufacturer Bayer over $1.5 billion. Not only have women sought compensation for the life-threatening injuries they sustained, many have accused Bayer of using unethical marketing practices and concealing known dangers of a drug in order to sell more units. Some have even accused the pharmaceutical giant of negligence, stating that the company did not perform adequate clinical trials before releasing the drug, and should have initiated a recall after the dangerous clotting side effects of drospirenone became known.