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Injuries reported by users of prescription contraceptive Yaz include heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.

Yaz, manufactured by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a combination birth control pill containing drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Yaz is marketed not only as a contraceptive pill, but as a proven treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition with severe emotional and physical premenstrual symptoms. Yaz also is marketed as an effective treatment for moderate acne.

These factors make Yaz an attractive choice for many young women, who are drawn to its multiple advertised benefits.

However, studies indicate that Yaz poses a particular health hazard because one of its two primary ingredients, drospirenone, is a diuretic, which can cause an increase in potassium levels in the blood and lead to hyperkalemia, which causes heart rhythm disturbances that can cause blood clots and leading to sudden cardiac death or pulmonary embolism or strokes.

Yaz is the only birth control currently sold in the U.S. that contains drospirenone.

Serious adverse events reported after use of Yaz include:
Heart attack
Cardiac arrhythmias
Pulmonary embolism
Blood clots
Kidney failure
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Hepatic adenomas
Sudden death

Yaz may also be known as Yasmin or by its generic name, Ocella. It is currently the top-selling birth control pill in the United States, generating more than $600 million in sales in 2008.

Bayer settles a small fraction of Yaz, Yasmin lawsuits

Bayer has agreed to settle about 70 of the approximately 11,300 lawsuits against the drug giant involving its blockbuster birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, according to the company’s 2011 annual report. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Bayer reportedly said the conditions were reasonable. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allege that using the oral contraceptives, as well as their generic equivalents Ocella and Gianvi, caused them or a loved one serious injury or death. The birth control pills contain the hormone drospirenone which recent studies have found put women at greater risk ... Read More

Panel members had financial ties to Yaz maker

Why are the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin still on the market when studies show they are more dangerous than other oral contraceptives? Consumer watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, or POGO, claims the government’s expert panel charged with reviewing safety data on the top selling birth control pills was compromised because four members had financial ties to Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that makes the pills. The situation was a long time coming. Just as Bayer was enjoying large profits from its newer generation birth control pills and actively working to push back generic competition while formulating new folic ... Read More

Generic Yaz will include same blood clot warnings

Watson Pharmaceuticals has launched Vestura, a generic version of Bayer’s blockbuster birth control pill Yaz. Like their brand-name counterpart, these pills will also carry a safety announcement on their packaging, warning users that studies suggest the drospirenone-containing pills may put users at greater risk for developing life threatening blood clots. Yaz, as well as the brands Yasmin, Beyaz, Safyral, and other generic varieties, combine the hormones drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Yaz and its generic versions had sales of about $510 million last year alone. Watson hopes to take a bite out of those profits. However, just as Watson was vying ... Read More

Long flights, birth control pills increase blood clot risk

Flying coach instead of first-class does not increase your chances of developing blood clots, according to new guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians. But flying with risk factors may increase your chance of getting the potentially deadly condition. People who fly are warned that sitting in one place for too long without walking around and stretching their legs can make them more susceptible to blood clots, a situation that has been nicknamed “economy class syndrome.” The idea is that roomier first-class seats offer more space for frequent movement and are safer, but the new guidelines put that myth to ... Read More

Experimental contraceptive zaps sperm count in rats

Male contraception may be as easy as a couple zaps of ultrasound to the testicles, according to a new study published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that zapping the testicles of rats with ultrasound machines like the ones physical therapists use to treat muscle injuries, did away with sperm-producing cells. The most effective dosage was determined to be two 15-minute zap sessions, which sent rat sperm counts far below the range considered normal in fertile rats in just two week’s time. While the test shows promise for ... Read More

Yaz lawyers oppose former FDA chief’s testimony

Drug giant Bayer is not at all happy that a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief has been tapped to testify against the drug company in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) focusing on the safety of Bayer’s top-selling birth control pills, Yaz. Former FDA commissioner Dr. David Kessler recently submitted an expert report claiming that an FDA advisory committee vote on the pills was tainted because some members of the panel were paid consultants for Bayer and posed an obvious conflict of interest. Thousands of women have joined the lawsuit against Yaz, alleging that Yaz caused serious side effects including ... Read More

Drug company ‘check lists’ influence patient choice

How ethical is it for pharmaceutical companies to target consumers with advertising for their prescription drugs? Consider this: The United States is one of only four countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising. (The others are New Zealand, Bangladesh, and South Korea.) What the public is more apt to see or read about a drug is not breaking news or scientific studies, but rather advertiser-crafted sound bites or celebrity endorsements of medications heavily advertised on television and magazines. Rather than relying on the guidance of a health care professional to determine the best drug for a patient, patients now enter doctor’s offices ... Read More

FDA panel member ‘well utilized’ by Yaz maker

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel member who voted to keep the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin on the market despite studies that showed the pills put women at greater risk for deadly blood clots was praised by the drugs’ maker Bayer in a 2008 report saying, “She will be well utilized.” The adviser, Paula Hillard, M.D., with Stanford’s School of Medicine, is listed on the medical school’s website as a paid consultant receiving $5,000 or more annually from a division of Bayer. Hillard’s apparent conflict of interest on the federal agency panel was noted by former FDA ... Read More

Watchdog group pushes FDA panel to revote on Yaz safety

A consumer watchdog group is calling for a revote by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel, after discovering that some members of the panel had ties to drug companies that made the pills under review. The FDA panel was charged with reviewing studies that showed a newer generation of birth control pills containing the hormone drospirenone put women at greater risk for life threatening blood clots than other oral contraceptives with other hormones. Drospirenone-containing pills include Yaz and Yasmin, made by Bayer. The drug company also sells versions of the pills containing folic acid under the brand names ... Read More

First Yaz trial will be April 30 if mediation fails

If mediation fails between Bayer and lawyers for the defendant, the first Yaz/Yasmin trial against the drug company will start on April 30. U.S. District Judge David Herndon ordered the mediation earlier this month in an attempt to settle the mounting lawsuits. But in a Jan. 10th clarification of a Dec. 31st order, he warned that if Bayer and plaintiffs don’t act in good faith, he would remand cases to districts where they began. The order held at bay nine “bellwether trials” that would have paved the way for the mass settlement of more than 10,000 lawsuits against Bayer for its ... Read More