Blood Clot Risk with Yaz and Yasmin Should Limit Use of Pills: Report
Due to the possibility of an increased risk of blood clots with Yaz and Yasmin, one clinical pharmacologist is calling for drospirenone-based birth control pills to be used only by women with certain other conditions that the pill might help alleviate.
According to a case report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, birth control pills containing drospirenone, such as Yaz and Yasmin, should not be used for women without polycystic ovarian syndrome, as current data suggests that oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel plus low-dose estrogen are a safer first choice due to the drospirenone blood clot risk.
The report’s author is Jennifer Ribowsky, a preclinical coordinator and preclinical faculty member at the Pace University PA program in New York. She is also an adjunct faculty member in Stonybrook University’s clinical pharmacology department. The case study involved a 32 year old patient seeking advice on whether to stay on a drospirenone-based oral contraceptive.
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Ribowsky reviewed a number of recent studies involving the potential side effects of Yaz and Yasmin and determined that the drospirenone-based drugs do have the potential to help women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS); an endocrine disorder that affects 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age. The condition can cause excessive androgenic hormones, which can cause masculine effects like hair growth, as well as acne, irregular menstrual periods and polycystic ovaries. Yaz, Yasmin and similar drugs have androgenic effects that can counter some PCOS symptoms, Ribowsky found.
However, due to the potential increased risk of blood clots with Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone birth control pills, Ribowsky concluded that the medications should not be prescribed to any women without PCOS indications, since they can be given levonorgestrel-based birth control, which is a known quantity and appears to be safer.
Drospirenone is a newer type of progestin that is used in combination oral contraceptives that also include estrogen. It was originally introduced by Berlex Laboratories in Yasmin. Once Berlex was acquired by Bayer Healthcare an updated version of Yasmin was introduced called Yaz. More recently, Bayer introduced a third version, marketed as Beyaz, which includes a folate supplement. Generic versions of Yaz and Yasmin are also now available from other manufacturers.
Bayer currently faces about 7,000 Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits and Beyaz lawsuits, which allege that the drug maker has failed to adequately warn about the increased risk of health problems associated with the birth control pills. The complaints have been filed on behalf of women who have suffered heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and other serious blood clot-related injuries, which they allege may have been prevented if more adequate information about the Yasmin and Yaz blood clot risk had been provided.
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