Yaz is a birth control pill that is manufactured and marketed by the pharmaceutical company Bayer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Yaz in 2006 to prevent pregnancy. It is a once-daily medication that contains a combination of two synthetic female reproductive hormones:
- 3-mg drospirenone, a “fourth generation” synthetic version of the female reproductive hormone progestin. Drospirenone has been linked to a 75% increased risk of blood clots.
- 0.02-mg ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic version of estrogen. This ingredient has been used for decades with a relatively good safety profile
Yaz and the FDA
On December 9, 2011, an FDA advisory panel voted to update the safety warnings on all birth control pills that contain drospirenone, including Yaz. This decision was based on data showing that these medications increased a woman’s risk of developing blood clots.
What is the risk of blood clots? Researchers expect that approximately 10 women per 10,000 taking this medication will develop a blood clot, with potentially life-threatening results. With older types of synthetic progestin (levonorgestrel, norgestrel, and more), the risk was approximately 4-6 women per 10,000. Though drospirenone has a higher risk of blood clots, it is equally effective at preventing pregnancy.
When Yaz was initially approved by the FDA, Bayer ran a $270-million advertising campaign to promote this medication. The FDA later sent the pharmaceutical company three warning letters. The FDA was concerned because the ads “failed to communicate any risk information” and were “misleading.” Many women who suffered Yaz blood clots have decided to file a Yaz lawsuit against Bayer for failing to adequately warn them of the risks of Yaz side effects.
Yaz and Blood Clots
A blood clot (also known as a “thrombus”) is simply a coagulation of blood platelets. Normally, when you are injured, the body produces certain enzymes that cause red blood platelets to stick together. These platelets form a blood clot, which then stops the flow of blood to an injured area. One Yaz side effect is blood clots. These blood clots almost always form in veins deep inside the body, in the legs, pelvis, or upper arms. The condition is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Blood clots that form in DVT can be pumped into the heart and into the lungs. When the blood clot gets stuck in the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots that form in arteries above the heart can cause a heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Symptoms of a Blood Clot
Approximately 50% of cases of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) do not show any symptoms. If you suspect that you have a blood clot, this is an emergency situation and you should call 911 and seek immediate care.
A blood clot in the veins will act like a “dam,” preventing oxygen-depleted blood from reaching the heart. A venous blood clot may occur gradually, and symptoms develop slowly over time. Blood clots in arteries prevent oxygen-rich blood from reaching tissues, and if untreated, the tissues will begin to die. Venous blood clots can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is caused by blood clots in the lungs. Arterial blood clots often cause sudden, acute symptoms, including heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Symptoms of a blood clot may include, but are not limited to:
- Swelling in the affected area
- Change in skin color, whiteness or redness
- Loss of sensation
- Paralysis of one part of the body, loss of function
When you go to the hospital and a doctor suspects a blood clot, there are many tests to definitively diagnose the clot. An ultrasound, contrast-dye X-rays, and sometimes blood tests can diagnose a blood clot. If the blood clot enters the lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism, a CT scan is usually the test of choice. During a CT scan, a physician injects contrast-dye into the bloodstream, which can reveal areas of the lungs that are not receiving blood.
If a blood clot is causing a severe, acute Yaz side effect such as a heart attack or ischemic stroke, treatment may include administration of an emergency clot-busting drug to dissolve the blood clot.
Serious Yaz Side Effects
Yaz blood clots are one of the most serious side effects of this medication, because blood clots can cause death.
Thousands of women who have used Yaz birth control pills have suffered blood clots. At least 50 women have died as a direct result of taking a birth control pill containing drospirenone, including Yaz. If you have been injured or if a family member has died after taking Yaz, you have a legal right to seek financial compensation and justice. Contact us today for more information about your legal rights.
Serious side effects of Yaz include, but are not limited to:
- Blood clots
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Gallbladder disease
- Hyperkalemia (toxic high levels of potassium)
- Irregular heartbeat (heart arrhythmia)
- Psychological trauma