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Yaz Side Effects

Woman diagnosed with Yaz side effectsMillions of American women once trusted Yaz as their birth control option of choice, turning Bayer’s unique formulation into the most popular oral contraceptive in America and generating billions of dollars in sales.  As litigation against Bayer continues to dominate the headlines, mounting evidence suggests that Yaz and Yasmin were never as safe as Bayer’s aggressive marketing campaign promised – or as safe as other birth control pills available on the market.  Tragically, for many women the side effects of Yaz and Yasmin have already proven dangerous and, in some cases, even deadly.

Yaz side effects can be life-threatening

Known side effects of Yaz and Yasmin include the following serious and potentially fatal conditions:

  • pulmonary embolism
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • retinal vein thrombosis
  • gallbladder disease
  • liver disease
  • immune hypersensitivity, including anaphylactic reaction or lupus erythematosus
  • hyperkalemia (dangerously high potassium levels)
  • hypertriglyceridemia and changes in glucose tolerance
  • skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia
  • irregular uterine bleeding

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps
  • breast tenderness or swelling, nipple discharge
  • freckles or darkening of facial skin and increased hair growth
  • changes in weight or appetite
  • severe headaches
  • problems with contact lenses
  • vaginal itching or discharge
  • changes in menstrual periods
  • decreased sex drive

Yaz and Yasmin product information

Yaz and Yasmin are oral contraceptives containing drospirenone, a synthetic hormone that suppresses ovulation to prevent pregnancy. The FDA approved Yasmin in 2001, and Yaz, which has a lower dose of estrogen than Yasmin, in 2006.

According to clinical trials, the most common side effects from Yaz and Yasmin were:

  • premenstrual syndrome
  • headache or migraine
  • breast pain/tenderness/discomfort
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain and tenderness
  • mood changes, such as depression, irritability and mood swings

FDA warnings about side effects from Yaz and Yasmin

In 2012 the FDA issued a safety communication containing information about the risk of blood clots from drospirenone-containing pills like Yaz and Yasmin. Several studies had shown that women taking these products faced a greater risk of developing blood clots over women taking birth control pills with different active ingredients, with some studies showing a three-fold increased risk.

Blood clots from Yaz can be extremely dangerous or even fatal when they form – a condition known as thrombosis, which can cut off the flow of blood to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain.  Another danger of thrombosis is that a blood clot may become detached and float through the blood stream until it lodges somewhere else, restricting blood flow far from its point of origin. Both conditions can lead to infarction, which is the death of muscles or organs due to a lack of oxygen.

The following potentially fatal types of blood clots are reported Yaz side effects:

  • pulmonary embolism, when a blood clot blocks the lungs
  • deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, when a clot causes pain, swelling, usually in the legs
  • cerebral thrombosis, a blood clot in the brain resulting in stroke
  • cerebral embolism, when a clot travels to the brain causing stroke
  • retinal thrombosis, when a clot forms in the eye, causing loss of vision
  • myocardial infarction, or heart attack

Lawsuits allege that Bayer withheld risks of Yaz and Yasmin

In 2011, Bayer made headlines when thousands of lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries or death from Yaz and Yasmin resulted in the public revelation of documents calling the objectivity and accuracy of Bayer’s research of the products into question. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler claimed that Bayer “presented a selective view of the data” in a 2004 report to the FDA on the safety of Yasmin. Furthermore, while Bayer paid for studies that showed the safety of Yaz and Yasmin, independent studies of the drugs associated them with a significant increase in the risk of dangerous or fatal blood clots.

In light of these and other damaging claims, Bayer has begun settling Yaz lawsuits with consumers who suffered debilitating side effects. As of February 2013, Bayer has reached an agreement to pay $1 billion in settlements for claims of blood clot injuries and an additional $24 million to settle lawsuits involving Yaz gallbladder disease. According to its 2012 annual report, the company is facing over 13,000 lawsuits, with more anticipated, and is setting aside additional money to pay lawyer fees and legal costs and to settle claims.

Risk factors for Yaz side effects

The following conditions are considered risk factors for developing side effects from Yaz or Yasmin. You should not take these products if you have any of the following contraindications:

  • renal insufficiency
  • hepatic dysfunction
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • cigarette smoking or tobacco consumption
  • a high risk of arterial or venous thrombotic diseases
  • undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding
  • liver tumors or liver disease
  • breast cancer or other estrogen/progestin-sensitive cancer
  • with history of DVT, stroke, other blood clots
  • history of breast cancer
  • hypertension

In addition, Yaz and Yasmin may cause complications when they interact with certain drugs, particularly those known to increase blood potassium levels. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Yaz or Yasmin, especially if you are also taking ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-II receptor agonists, potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium supplementation, heparin, aldosterone antagonists, or NSAIDs.

Signs you may be experiencing Yaz side effects

Stop use and contact a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms, which may be a sign of serious side effects from Yaz or Yasmin:

  • numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • sudden and severe headache, confusion, and/or problems with vision, speech, or balance
  • pain or heaviness in the chest
  • chest pain spreading to the arm or shoulder and/or accompanied by nausea, sweating, or general ill feeling
  • sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, and/or coughing up blood
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs
  • any changes in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches
  • gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, and/or clay-colored stools
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • a breast lump
  • symptoms of depression (sleep problems, weakness, tired feeling, mood changes)