Yaz is a prescription birth control pill. It was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2006. Later in 2006, Yaz received FDA approval for use to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is considered to be a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In 2007, Yaz received additional FDA-approval to treat acne vulgaris, which is the most common form of acne that primarily occurs from puberty through young adulthood.
Yaz is currently the best-selling birth control pill in the United States. While Yaz helped many women to prevent pregnancy and improve their menstrual cycles, it was also known to cause side effects such as migraines, kidney disorders, and uterine bleeding. There are currently thousands of lawsuits against Yaz manufacturer Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.
What Is Yaz?
Yaz and its sister drugs Yasmin and Ocella have a different chemical composition than most other birth control pills on the market. In addition to synthetic estrogen like other birth control, they contain drospirenone. Drospirenone is a new synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. It has a close chemical resemblance to spironolactone, which is a diuretic.
Yaz also provides patients with an increased hormone dose in comparison to other birth control pills. A month of Yaz treatment includes 24 active and four inactive pills. Most other monthly birth control regimens provide seven inactive pills.
Minor Yaz Side Effects
Like other birth control pills, Yaz users may experience minor side effects that do not pose significant health dangers. These side effects most commonly include changes in menstrual and non-menstrual bleeding.
Minor Yaz side effects can include:
- Migraine heachades
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Stomach cramps
- Changes in weight
- Decreased sex drive
- Problems with tolerating contact lenses
Severe Yaz Side Effects
Research has shown that those who take drospirenone birth control pills such as Yaz have an increased risk of developing dangerous blood clots. In fact, the risk is increased six to seven times compared to women who do not take any birth control. Compared to women who take levonorgestrel birth control, the risk of blood clots is doubled.
Yaz also interferes with the body’s natural potassium levels. For this reason, patients with renal or hepatic issues should not use Yaz. Women who begin a Yaz regimen should monitor potassium levels. Yaz can significantly increase potassium levels, which can lead to hyperkalemia. Patients taking other potassium-increasing drugs are advised not to take Yaz. Excessive potassium levels can cause serious injury or death.
Using Yaz may also cause:
- Liver tumors
- Disturbances in liver function
- Gallbladder complications
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Glucose level changes that can cause diabetes or affect lupus
- Anaphylactic reactions, such as hives, itching, breathing difficulty, and swelling of the lips, face, or tongue
Yaz FDA Warnings
Since Yaz launched, it has received multiple FDA warnings and communications. Briefly after Yaz was released, Bayer received a fine for the marketing claims that the drug could cure conditions such as PMDD, acne caused by hormones, and other menstrual conditions.
In 2009, a warning letter was sent to Bayer due to a displeasing routine inspection of its German manufacturing plant. The FDA noted that some of the manufacturing equipment was unclean, and that the final products were not adequately tested before being shipped out to distributors.
There are currently more than 10,000 lawsuits against Bayer for the harmful side effects caused by Yaz. Yasmin and Ocella also face a number of lawsuits for similar side effects. In addition to the physical harm caused by Yaz, many lawsuits allege that Bayer implemented deceptive practices when marketing the drug. Plaintiffs feel that some claims for Yaz’s capabilities were exaggerated. Additionally, many feel that the health risks were not adequately communicated to consumers.