If you’re a woman, there’s a good chance commercials for birth control pill Yaz, also known as Yasmin or Ocella, caught your attention in the second half of the 2000s. As a result, 100 million women have been prescribed the medication, and toward the end of the last decade, Yaz became one of the most popular birth control pills in the United States.
Marketing claims as an “alternative” to traditional birth control methods said the pill reduced PMS symptoms, lessened bloating, and better-controlled acne. However, the only other FDA-approved uses were for PMDD and moderate acne treatment.
The key ingredient in Yaz and weaker varieties like Yasmin is drospirenone, a synthetic form of hormone progesterone. The hormone elevates the body’s potassium levels, which has been attributed to heart, blood, and other health problems.
As a result, some patients given Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella developed the following conditions:
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Gallbladder disease
- Heart arrhythmias
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Sudden death
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
Yaz has been estimated to have caused thousands of injuries and about 100 deaths. Because manufacturer Bayer failed to warn medical professionals and consumers of the risks, more than 13,000 lawsuits related to Yaz’s life-threatening side effects have gone to trial.
Since the drug’s approval in 2001, the FDA, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the British Medical Journal, and the New England Journal of Medicine have issued warnings.
In 2008, the FDA voted to strengthen Yaz’s warning label. As a result, the drug, which continues to remain on the market, has a black box warning about its many cardiovascular side effects.
In 2011, a study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that women taking Yaz were twice as likely to experience blood clots compared to women on other forms of birth control.
Contraception Journal further reported that women on Yaz or Yasmin had a 77 percent greater chance of developing venous thromboembolic events and were twice as likely to experience arterial thromboembolic events. Although all birth control pills put women at risk for blood clots, Yaz’s rate is considerably higher.
As well, from the time Yaz became available in 2006, Bayer had been reprimanded on multiple occasions for its advertising practices.
State and Federal Lawsuits
Lawsuits cite Bayer’s overemphasis of Yaz’s benefits and downplaying of side effects. On a national level, cases have since been consolidated in multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. 6,760 cases, as well, have reached a verdict, although thousands more remain pending.
For women, Yaz remains on the market and Bayer further introduced its successor, Safyral, a drospirenone birth control pill that raises folate levels while decreasing risks of neural tube defects in pregnancy. Although the FDA approved it in 2010, elevated risk of blood clots and heart attacks, particularly during the first year, remains.
Because this risk continues to exist, Trantolo & Trantolo’s experienced trial attorneys have been taking on Yaz-related product liability cases in Connecticut. Were you prescribed Yaz, Yasmin, or Ocella without being fully informed of the heart and health risks that could potentially result? Did you experience a stroke, blood clotting, or another harmful cardiovascular condition while taking it? Start moving toward a resolution today by bringing your claim to our attention.