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Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella are birth control pills used to prevent pregnancy. They work by preventing ovulation and by causing changes in the cervical and uterine lining, making it more difficult for the sperm to fertilize the egg.
Yaz was also the first birth control pill approved by the FDA to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, which is a controversial condition that is alleged to be a severe form of PMS.
In addition, it is approved to treat moderate acne in women over 14 years old.
Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella are dangerous because of the hormones they contain, in particular the form of progestin called drospirenone, or drsp. Drsp is dangerous because it is a diuretic which may elevate the levels of potassium in the blood stream. This condition is known as hyperkalemia. When this occurs, heart rhythms may be interrupted and the flow of blood slowed throughout the body.
The most serious side effects of hyperkalemia are the following:
It is not only drsp that makes Yaz so dangerous; it is also the way that Bayer has marketed it. Bayer marketed Yaz as more than just birth control—a woman could get contraceptive protection and also reduce acne and control the emotional side effects of her period. Such misleading advertising led Yaz to become the top-selling birth control pill in the United States by 2008, leading to the barrage of problems Bayer is now facing over the drug. The FDA has cited Bayer multiple warnings on its misleading advertising:
The symptoms of hyperkalemia include:
The symptoms of blood clots include:
There have been numerous studies on the risks of Yaz. A Danish study of 1.3 million women revealed that drsp-containing contraceptives resulted in a six-fold increase in deep vein thrombosis, which is the formation of clots in the lower leg or thigh that can break loose and travel to the lungs. This can be compared to the three-fold increase that results from traditional contraceptive use. This study was published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal).
The FDA has issued numerous warning letters to Bayer, as stated above. In addition, in 2011, the FDA required Bayer to change its label to reflect the elevated risks that Yaz poses. The new label now warns doctors and patients of the increased risk of venous thromboembolism, and that certain women will be at an increased risk for pancreatitis while on Yaz.
If you have suffered injury while using Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella, you are likely entitled to compensation. Only a Yaz attorney can consider the facts of your case and advise you as to what is the best way to proceed. Contact us today for your free consultation.
Click here to visit our dedicated Drug and Device Website and to learn more about Yaz.