Yaz birth control and its associated products including Yasmin, Ocella, and Gianvi, were marketed as oral contraceptives ideal for young women. Unfortunately, many consumers who chose to use Yaz found the risks were far greater than indicated by the manufacturer. One of the most serious health concerns associated with the pill was blood clots.
What are Blood Clots?
Though individual blood clots might develop without a person ever realizing it, clots can travel within the body and settle in dangerous places. When clots form within deep veins of the body the condition is called deep vein thrombosis. This can be a common health condition for older, sedentary adults, but many women who took Yaz birth control also developed deep vein thrombosis. These types of clots are far more likely to move throughout the body and pose danger.
Once a blood clot is on the move, it can interfere with a variety of the body’s vital functions. If a blood clot reaches the brain, it can impede blood flow and cause stroke. If a clot moves to the heart, it can trigger a blockage that causes a heart attack. Blood clots in the lung cause pulmonary embolism, preventing sufficient levels of oxygen from reaching the body.
Link between Yaz and Blood Clots
Studies have shown Yaz increases the likelihood of the formation of blood clots. Originally, Yaz was marketed as an option for young women because the product offered benefits not seen in other types of birth control. Yaz contains synthetic estrogen like other oral contraceptives, but it also contains a new synthetic form of progesterone, or progestin, known as drospirenone. Research shows this ingredient increases the risk for blood clots more than any other type of synthetic progestin.
One of the criticisms of Yaz is the way in which the contraceptive adjusts a woman’s cycle. A month’s supply of the average oral contraceptive includes 21 active pills, with seven that are inactive. This aligns fairly well with a woman’s natural cycle. A month supply of Yaz includes 24 active pills, with four inactive. One of the marketing gimmicks for the contraceptive was “shorter periods,” but this came with a level of hormone supplementation that was far from natural.
Additionally, Yaz was marketed as a means of alleviating water weight gain because it was a diuretic. Some believe this component also played a role in the dangers of the drug. There were also claims that Yaz could combat other symptoms related to premenstrual disorder and acne.
Lawsuits Mount in Response to Blood Clots Triggered by Yaz Use
In 2011, the FDA began investigating concerns over Yaz. A year passed before a more detailed warning label was applied to the drug. The label cited information from several different studies, two of which were funded by Bayer Healthcare and refuted the evidence found in other studies.
Currently, the approximately 12,000 lawsuits against Yaz are in multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Illinois. Plaintiffs claim Bayer Healthcare failed to notify Yaz users of the danger associated with the contraceptive. Bayer is settling some of the cases (about 7,500 so far) and intends to continue paying out on a case by case basis. Some familiar with the cases believe final payments could reach more than $2.5 billion.
If you would like to know more about the dangers associated with using Yaz or any of its associated products, including Yasmin, Ocella, or Gianvi, we can help. Consumers should be informed about their options and understand what they can do to protect their rights if they have been injured as the result of taking oral contraceptives.