Yaz Stroke Lawsuit Filed in California

A lawsuit was filed this week in California federal court by a woman who needed to have part of her brain and skull removed as a result of a stroke that was allegedly caused by side effects of Yaz birth control. The case will be joined with similar Yaz lawsuits and Yasmin lawsuits filed by hundreds of other women who have experienced problems with the popular birth control pills manufactured by Bayer.

The complaint was filed by Susan Galinis, of Newark, California, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Bayer failed to adequately research the birth control pill or adequately warn about the increased risk of stroke from Yaz. According to a report by KGO-TV in San Francisco, Galinis hopes that her case and other similar lawsuits will ultimately force Bayer to issue a Yaz recall.

Yaz contains a newer type of progestin, drospirenone, in combination with ethinyl estradiol to prevent unwanted pregnancy. An older version of the drug marketed as Yasmin, generic Ocella and Yaz are the only types of oral birth control pills in the United States that use this unique progestin.

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According to Galinis’ complaint and other similar lawsuits filed throughout the United States, drospirenone causes an increase in potassium levels in the blood and a condition known as hyperkalemia, which can lead to various medical complications. Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella have been linked to an increased risk of blood clots, which can result in stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or sudden death.

Galinis, 39, indicates that she was prescribed Yaz as a means of alleviating pain from premenstrual cramps, and had only been on the drug for four weeks and one day when she had a stroke in June 2008. Galinis was hospitalized for six months, and doctors had to remove a portion of her skull and brain to save her life. As a result, Galinis has virtually no short-term memory, and her I.Q. has dropped to 77, which is borderline mental retardation.

As of October 8, Bayer indicated that they had been served with at least 129 lawsuits over Yaz or Yasmin, but many product liability lawyers investigating potential cases expect that thousands of cases will ultimately be filed in the coming months and years.

All federal Yaz litigation has been centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in East St. Louis as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). In addition, a number of Yaz cases are consolidated in Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia.

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