The problem with Beyaz is that it contains drospirenone, a synthetic hormone that the FDA now warns has been linked to a higher risk of blood clots. If these blood clots travel to the lungs, they can become trapped inside the lungs, potentially causing a pulmonary embolism. Severe pulmonary embolisms can cause serious injury or death.
Beyaz is a birth control pill that is manufactured and sold by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It was approved in 2010 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Beyaz is essentially Yaz birth control plus an added folate B-vitamin. The medication is intended to reduce the chances of pregnancy, but if pregnancy occurs, the folate also reduces the risk of certain birth defects (spina bifida, anencephaly, and more).
Beyaz contains the same amounts of synthetic hormones as Yaz, including approximately 3-mg of drospirenone. Drospirenone is a new type of synthetic progestin. All synthetic progestins are known to increase a woman’s risk of a blood clot, but with drospirenone, the risk of a blood clot may be three times higher than other progestins. The FDA has recently decided to update the warning label on Beyaz to warn about this risk.
Beyaz and Pulmonary Embolisms
What is the problem with blood clots? Not everyone is aware that a blood clot can be life-threatening, because most people associate blood clots with stopping bleeding after an injury. Beyaz increases the risk of a certain type of blood clot: deep-vein blood clots, which usually form in a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). These blood clots are extremely dangerous, because they form in major veins, which transport blood directly to the heart. If a blood clot breaks loose from the vein where it formed, it can be pumped into the heart, and then pumped into the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism.
What is a pulmonary embolism? A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot gets trapped inside the lungs. Blood clots are semi-solid masses of sticky blood platelets. They are difficult for the body to dissolve, and they can clog blood vessels that are too small. Inside the delicate structures of the lungs, blood vessels become very tiny.
When a blood clot gets stuck inside these tiny blood vessels, it cuts off the supply of blood to the tissues ahead. These tissues quickly begin to die due to lack of blood. If untreated, a Beyaz pulmonary embolism can cause lung damage, organ failure, and death.
Symptoms of a Beyaz Pulmonary Embolism
The initial symptoms of a Beyaz pulmonary embolism may be relatively minor, such as shortness of breath with chest pain or discomfort. These symptoms may not seem severe, but they are life-threatening. Do not delay treatment. A pulmonary embolism can cause death within 30-60 minutes. Minor symptoms may indicate that small blood clots have been pumped into the lungs. If a large blood clot is pumped into the lungs, cutting off most blood flow to the lungs, symptoms are usually very severe.
Beyaz increases the risk of a pulmonary embolism even for women who have no previous history of blood clots or pulmonary embolisms. Therefore, if you take Beyaz or another birth control pill containing progestin, you should be aware of the symptoms of a blood clot or pulmonary embolism, and seek emergency medical attention any time a blood clot is suspected.
Symptoms of a Beyaz pulmonary embolism include, but are not limited to:
- Shortness of breath for no reason
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Chest pain, discomfort in the chest, which may only be present on one side. The pain may be a dull ache, discomfort, or sharp pain.
- Chest pain that grows worse when the person coughs, breathes deeply, or moves
- Changes in consciousness (fainting, dizziness, blacking out)
- Anxiety, nervousness, feeling like something serious is wrong
These symptoms may be preceded by symptoms of a blood clot or DVT, which usually include pain, swelling, and discoloration of an extremity, most common the lower legs.