Since the FDA approved Yasmin in 2001, thousands of women have suffered severe Yasmin side effects, including stroke. When a stroke occurs, a blood clot inside the brain cuts off the blood supply to brain tissue. In severe cases, a Yasmin stroke can cause severe brain damage, causing physical disability, intellectual disability, or death.
Yasmin birth control pills are manufactured and sold by Bayer, a large pharmaceutical company. When the FDA approved Yasmin in 2001, it was the first birth control pill to contain drospirenone, a new type of synthetic progestin (a female reproductive hormone). Bayer launched a massive advertising campaign that implied Yasmin was safer than older birth control pills and could treat acne and symptoms of PMS. Yasmin quickly became one of the most popular birth control pills in the U.S. and Europe.
In more than a decade since Yasmin was approved, researchers have gathered a massive amount of evidence linking drospirenone to a higher risk of blood clots compared to older progestins. The first critical studies of drospirenone were published in 2009. The FDA sent Bayer warning letters in 2003, 2008, and 2009, regarding “misleading” ads for Yaz and Yasmin that “failed to communicate any risk information.” Bayer ran a corrective advertising campaign, but it did not prevent public backlash from growing against Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills. Since 2010, the number of women who use Yasmin has plummeted. The FDA has recently announced that they will be updating the labels on these drugs to warn of a possible increased risk of blood clots compared to other birth control pills.
Yasmin and Stroke
Several studies involving hundreds of thousands of women have found that drospirenone is linked to a tripled risk of developing a blood clot. These blood clots usually form in deep veins and cause pulmonary embolisms (blood clot in the lungs). Occasionally, they form in arteries and cause ischemic strokes (blood clot in the brain).
A blood clot (or thrombus) is ideally suited to clog blood vessels. They are intended to clog blood vessels after an injury. A blood clot is a semi-solid, sticky mass of red blood platelets that is not easily dissolved by the body.
Blood clots that form inside deep veins or arteries are potentially deadly. They may continue to grow uninhibited over several hours or days, until they are large enough that pieces break off or the entire clot becomes dislodged. Loose in the bloodstream, the clot travels until it gets stuck in a smaller blood vessel, usually located inside a major internal organ.
A blood clot in the brain cuts off the supply of blood to brain tissue. When this brain tissue has no oxygen, it begins to die within several minutes. If the blood clot is not removed immediately and circulation restored, the brain tissue will start to die. If it is not controlled, this can result in severe brain damage. Once brain cells die, they are irreplaceable. Brain damage can cause permanent physical disability, intellectual disability, or death.
Signs & Symptoms of a Yasmin Stroke
All women who take hormonal birth control pills that contain progestin are more likely to develop a blood clot — even women who have no history of blood clots or other risk factors. Some risk factors significantly increase the risk of developing a blood clot, especially smoking and being over 35 years old. However, all women can develop a blood clot while taking progestin-containing birth control pills. In some cases, these blood clots cause strokes. All strokes can potentially cause severe brain damage or death. Long-term prognosis is best when the symptoms of a stroke are identified early, and treatment restores circulation in the brain as quickly as possible. It is prudent to be aware of the symptoms of a stroke so you can seek treatment immediately.
Symptoms of a Yasmin stroke may include:
- Headache. It usually begins suddenly and is very painful. If the person is asleep when it occurs, the headache may awaken the person.
- Changes in consciousness, dizziness, suddenly feeling sleepy, fainting, etc.
- Sudden, poor motor coordination. This may involve loss of balance, having difficulty walking, writing, swallowing, etc.
- Abnormal sensory changes (strange tastes or inability to taste, strange smells, blurry vision or loss of vision, abnormal sensation of touch or temperature, etc.)
- Sudden changes in moods, emotions, or personality
- Muscle weakness, usually only affecting one side of the body. One side of the face may droop, or an arm or leg may be weak
- Tingling or numbness, usually just on one side of the body