Canadian Doctors Fear Yaz, Yasmin May Scare Women Away From Pill

A group of Canadian doctors has indicated that they are worried that growing concerns about potential side effects of Yaz and Yasmin birth control may scare some women away from using oral contraceptives and increase the number of unwanted pregnancies. 

Yaz and Yasmin are birth control pills manufactured by Bayer that contain drospirenone, a new “fourth generation” progestin. Hundreds of Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits have been filed in the United States, and several Yasmin and Yaz class action suits have been filed in Canada. These cases all contain similar allegations that the newer birth control pills carry an increased risk of blood clots and other injuries, when compared with older, more proven, birth control pills.

In a new practice guideline (PDF) issued to its members, The Society of Obstetricians and Gynacologists of Canada (SOGC) indicates that media coverage of the lawsuits and mounting fears among consumers may lead to a “pill scare,” where some women may stop taking birth control pills, leading to an increased rate of unplanned pregnancy. The group also questions the research behind the recent legal claims.

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The risk of blood clots, or venous thromboemolism, from oral birth control pills is a known, but rare risk. The lawsuits over Yaz and Yasmin allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately research the effects of drospirenone before introducing the products, or warn that the birth control pills may carry an increased risk when compared to other drugs.

At least two studies conducted by independent researchers have suggested that Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based oral contraceptives carry an increase risk of blood clots. In April 2010, the FDA required Bayer to update it’s marketing and advertisements to reflect new information on the warning label about these studies and the possible increased risk of blood clots from Yaz and Yasmin.

In it’s clinical practice guideline, the SOGC points out to its members that two other studies, which were sponsored by the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin, may be more reliable. Those manufacturer-sponsored studies found that the risk of venous thromboembolism among users of drospirenone-based birth control pills was comparable to the risk found in women using other oral contraceptvies. The SOGC suggests that the risks of Yaz and Yasmin are not statistically significant when compared to other birth control pills.

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