The Yaz® birth control pill has been on the market since 2006. Yaz is taken orally once daily to prevent pregnancy.
Yaz differs from other birth control methods because it contains a progestin hormone called drospirenone, which can increase potassium levels in the bloodstream.
Yasmin®, a birth control drug very similar to Yaz, has been on the market since 2001. It contains the same hormone as Yaz and is associated with the same health issues. Ocella® is sometimes supplied by pharmacies instead of Yaz or Yasmin, and carries the same risks.
Dangerous Side Effects
Yaz has been linked with serious adverse heart problems in women taking the drug. In a reprimanding letter sent to the manufacturer of Yaz, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and gallbladder disease in Yaz users (1).
The FDA goes on to say, “Yaz has additional risks because it contains the progestin, drospirenone […] can lead to hyperkalemia in high risk patients, which may result in potentially serious heart and health problems. Women taking Yaz must be concerned about the drug interactions that could increase potassium, in addition to the drug interactions common to all combination oral contraceptives (1).”
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) released a report revealing thrombotic/clotting events in Yaz and Yasmin are as frequent as with third generation birth control pills. Third generation pills have a previously established warning for thrombotic events, but Yaz and Yasmin are considered fourth generation pills and do not have the third generation warning (3).
Elevated Potassium Levels
Yaz also has been linked to a condition known as hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a condition that describes abnormal levels of potassium in the bloodstream, which can lead to fatal arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are disorders of the speed at which the heart beats.
Heart Attack, Stroke and Blood Clots
Yaz and other oral contraceptives present an increased risk of heart attack in users (2), especially in smokers. In addition to heart attack, there is an established link between oral contraceptives and blood clots and stroke.
U.S. health regulators warned the manufacturer of Yaz about its quality control issues at a plant that makes several of the ingredients in Yaz. The FDA said inspectors found testing problems at the company’s plant in Berghamen, Germany. One of the drugs on the list that may not be up to standards is Yaz’s main ingredient, drospirenone (4).
Bloomberg reports that lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Yaz, claiming that Bayer unlawfully promoted the drug by concealing side effects, including blood clots, heart attacks and pulmonary embolisms in Yaz users.
Furthermore, a Swiss health regulation investigation into the death of a woman who took Yaz and died of a blood clot in her lung is currently underway.
Yaz Marketed for Unapproved Uses
In January 2009, the FDA required the maker of Yaz, which ran commercials claiming Yaz could be used to treat headaches and acne (uses that are not approved by the FDA), to launch a campaign correcting those false claims.
The FDA said, “These violations are concerning from a public health perspective because they encourage use of Yaz in circumstances other than those in which the drug has been approved, over-promise the benefits and minimize the risks associated with Yaz (1).”
Yaz is still on the market today.
We Want to Help
If you or someone you care about took Yaz and suffered a blood clot, stroke, or heart attack, someone at our law firm would like to speak with you. We may be able to help.
- “Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) Tablets Warning Letter to Bayer HealthCare,” from the Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov).
- “Yaz Prescribing Information,” from the Yaz warning label. Accessed 4/3/09 via www.yaz-us.com.
- “Hormonal contraception and risk of venous thromboembolism: national follow-up study” from the British Medicine Journal. Accessed 8/20/09 via www.bmj.com.
Yaz® and Yasmin® are registered trademarks of Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Ocella® is a registered Barr Laboratories, Inc. Trademarked names are used only to identify the productions in question.
This law firm is not associated with, sponsored by, or affiliated with The Associated Press, Barr Laboratories, Inc., Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the British Medicine Journal, the Food and Drug Administration, or Yahoo!