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The Drug

Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella all contain the same contraceptive drug, drospirenone.  Developed and marketed by Bayer, Yasmin hit the market in 2001, and Yaz followed suit a few years later in 2006.  Ocella, on the other hand, is the generic version of Yasmin, but still carries with it the same risks as both Yaz and Yasmin.

Dangerous Side Effects

Yaz has been linked with serious adverse heart problems in women taking the drug. In a warning 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.

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.”

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) released a report revealing that blood clots in Yaz and Yasmin are as frequent as with third generation birth control pills. Third generation pills had an established warning for blood clots, but Yaz and Yasmin did not yet have such a warning.

The FDA then released results from a study that included over 800,000 American women who were taking various forms of birth control between 2001 and 2007. The research revealed that women taking Yaz had a 75 percent higher chance of getting a blood clot than women taking older forms of birth control pills.

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.

Yaz and other oral contraceptives present an increased risk of heart attack in users, especially in smokers. In addition to heart attack, there is an established link between oral contraceptives and blood clots and stroke.

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.

Despite the dangers, marketing violations, and manufacturing issues Yaz has been associated with, it is still on the market today.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one have suffered from a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, stroke or heart attack while taking Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella please contact Freese & Goss today. Attorneys are available by phone, e-mail, or by clicking here.

FDA: Yaz Warning Letter, October 3, 2008.

Lidegaard et al.  Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Venous Thromboembolism: National Follow-Up Study.  339 British Medical Journal 1-8 (2009).

FDA Drug Safety Communication Summary. May 31, 2011.

Bloomberg.  Bayer Sued, Accused of Hiding Yaz Risk to Boost Sales.  October 6, 2009.

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