Yaz was one of the most popular birth control pills in the United States, until evidence linked an ingredient in Yaz (drospirenone) to a 75% increased risk of blood clots. These blood clots usually form inside deep veins in the legs or pelvis, in a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Yaz is a once-daily, hormonal birth control pill. It is manufactured and sold by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006.
Yaz contains a combination of two synthetic hormones: drospirenone, which is synthetic progestin, and ethinyl estradiol, which is synthetic estrogen. Most hormonal birth control pills contain ethinyl estradiol, but there are many different types of synthetic progestin. Drospirenone is the newest, “fourth generation” version of synthetic progestin. It has recently become a source of controversy, since several massive studies linked drospirenone to a higher risk of blood clots compared to other birth control pills.
Yaz and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Women who use Yaz have a higher risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) compared to women who use birth control pills that do not contain drospirenone.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)? DVT is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when a blood clot (also known as a “thrombus”) forms inside a vein located deep within the body. Usually, these blood clots form in veins inside the lower leg. They can also form inside the thigh, pelvis, upper arms, or other parts of the body.
The biggest risk with DVT is that a blood clot will grow larger and larger until it breaks loose (called an embolism) and begins to move freely in the bloodstream. When this occurs, the blood clot travels until it gets stuck in a smaller blood vessel, usually in the lungs. DVT blood clots that stop the supply of blood to lung tissue cause a pulmonary embolism. In the most severe cases, the DVT blood clot can prevent the oxygenation of fresh blood, cause large amounts of lung tissue to die, and can lead to death.
Symptoms of Yaz Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you use Yaz birth control pills, you should be aware of the symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis just in case you develop this life-threatening condition. DVT blood clots do not always show symptoms until they break loose and get stuck in a major internal organ. Prognosis significantly worsens once this occurs, which is why it is important to diagnose DVT before the blood clot becomes an embolism.
Early symptoms of DVT may include:
- Discoloration of the affected part of the body (such as one leg)
- Pain in the affected extremity
- Swelling in the limb
- Warmth in the area of the blood clot
- Superficial veins may look engorged
- Weakness, tingling, or abnormal sensation in the affected limb
Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis
Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis typically begins with the administration of blood-thinning medications. These medications prevent existing blood clots from getting bigger, which decreases the likelihood that they will break off and cause a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. If the blood clot is very serious, or if the medications are not working, a doctor may need to administer an intravenous clot-busting drug directly into the affected area. These clot-busting drugs can cause severe bleeding, and so they are only used when DVT is life-threatening.