Heart attacks are a life-threatening side effect of taking Yasmin birth control pills. Several studies and the FDA now warn that drospirenone, an ingredient in Yasmin, may triple a woman’s risk of getting a blood clot. Heart attacks occur when blood clots block one of three coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
Yasmin is a birth control pill sold by the drug giant Bayer. When Yasmin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001, it was the first birth control pill to contain drospirenone, a new synthetic hormone.
Bayer ran a massive advertising campaign to launch Yasmin, and it quickly became a blockbuster drug. The success of Yasmin was followed by the success of Yaz, another birth control pill containing drospirenone introduced in 2006. The FDA sent warning letters to Bayer in 2003, 2008, and 2009, because the ads were “misleading” and “failed to communicate any risk information.”
As more and more women became aware that drospirenone was linked to an increased risk of blood clots, the use of Yasmin dropped of dramatically. In 2012, the FDA announced that they will be updating the label on Yasmin to warn about the increased risk of blood clots.
Yasmin and Heart Attacks
A Yasmin blood clot usually forms deep inside the body, where it may not show any symptoms. This blood clot can grow to enormous size, break away from its original location, and travel until it becomes trapped in a smaller blood vessel. Yasmin blood clots usually travel to the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism. They can also travel to the brain and cause an ischemic stroke. A blood clot that gets stuck in a coronary artery leading to the heart causes a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction.
Even with no history of heart attacks have suffered a heart attack after taking Yasmin. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot gets stuck inside a coronary artery, which supplies the heart muscle with the oxygen-rich blood it needs to survive. Without oxygen, tissues in the heart start to die almost immediately. Once the heart muscle becomes damaged, there is no way to repair or replace it.
When tissue begins to die, a Yasmin heart attack victim is at risk of heart failure and death. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is too severely damaged to continue pumping blood into the body. The symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and severe swelling of the legs. Sometimes, people who have a heart attack recover within a few weeks. Other heart attack victims may have gradually worsening heart failure that is ultimately fatal.
Symptoms of a Yasmin Heart Attack
All hormonal birth control pills increase a woman’s risk of a heart attack compared to women who do not take hormonal birth control pills. Women who take Yasmin birth control pills may have a higher risk of heart attack compared to women who take non-drospirenone birth control pills.
Symptoms of a heart attack vary from person to person. The heart attack may not have any symptoms initially. Or, the symptoms may grow gradually worse over the course of several days (usually mild chest pain, called angina). In some cases, a heart attack occurs without warning, and is severe and debilitating.
In all cases, early treatment is essential for the best chance of survival. A physician will need to administer a strong medication to dissolve the clot. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the obstruction in the heart. The longer the heart muscle is deprived of circulation, the greater the risk of severe damage to the heart muscle.
Any time a heart attack is suspected, this is an emergency situation. Call 911 immediately.
Symptoms of a Yasmin heart attack may include:
- Chest pain. This pain may be sudden, or grow gradually worse over time. It may feel like tightness, pressure, or fullness in the chest. It may spread to other areas, including the shoulders, arm, back, or jaw.
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating excessively
- Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Feeling nervous, anxious, or sensing that something is wrong
- Feeling light-headed, faint, dizzy
- Nausea, vomiting