All progestin-containing birth control pills increase the risk of blood clots. The problem with Ocella (drospirenone / ethinyl estradiol) is that it may triple the risk of blood clots compared to older birth control pills, and yet Bayer initially advertised its drospirenone-containing contraceptives without including this risk information. As a result, many women were misled into believing that Ocella could treat acne, PMS, or that it was superior to older birth control pills.
Ocella Side Effects
Life-threatening Ocella side effects include:
- Hyperkalemia: When the hormones in Ocella disrupt the body’s balance of potassium inside cells and in the bloodstream, a woman may suffer from dangerously high levels of potassium. This is called hyperkalemia, and it is under-diagnosed because it is often symptomless. However, it can suddenly cause a severe irregular heart rhythm, causing cardiac arrest.
- Blood clots: Studies have linked Ocella to a three-fold increased risk of blood clots. They can form spontaneously anywhere in the body. If they break loose from their origin, they may travel to a major organ and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): This condition occurs when an Ocella blood clot develops inside veins located deep inside the body, usually in the legs, pelvis, or arm. Veins carry blood to the heart and lungs. If the blood clot forms in the thigh, there is a 50% risk that it will travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
- Pulmonary Embolism: This condition occurs when one or more blood clots forms in a vein, breaks loose, travels to the lungs, and obstructs a major blood vessel inside the lungs.
- Heart Attack: This condition occurs when an arterial blood clot obstructs one of the three coronary arteries which supply the heart muscle with oxygen-enriched blood. Without oxygen, the heart muscle quickly becomes damaged or destroyed, leading to heart failure.
- Cardiac Arrest: This condition occurs when the heart is too weak or unable to pump blood effectively into the body. Severe irregular heart rhythm can cause cardiac arrest. A major pulmonary embolism can also cause cardiac arrest, when the heart is too weak to create enough blood pressure to overcome a large clot in the lungs.
- Stroke: This condition occurs when a blood clot forms in an artery, travels to the brain, and obstructs a blood vessel. Small strokes can set of a cascading chain reaction that causes massive brain damage.