Since its launch in 2006, Yaz grew to become a popular method of birth control. Yaz is a once-a-day oral contraceptive made by pharmaceutical giant Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. It is considered a member of the newest birth control generation. Yaz contains a new variation of the synthetic progesterone hormone called drospirenone. It also contains a common synthetic estrogen hormone called ethinyl estradiol.
Soon after it gained popularity, a number of Yaz side effects were reported. Yaz side effects range from minor to life-threatening. Among the severe Yaz side effects are blood clots, stroke, heart attacks, gallbladder disease, and high cholesterol.
Research shows that these severe Yaz side effects are more common in women who take drospirenone contraceptives than in women who use contraceptives with other hormones. Due to reported severe Yaz side effects, the drug has become controversial. Additionally, many lawsuits have been filed against Bayer from women who suffered debilitating Yaz side effects.
Most Common Yaz Side Effects
The most common Yaz side effects are mild and typically do not require medical attention. Many patients report Yaz side effects such as fatigue and irritability. Patients also experience Yaz side effects such as headaches and migraines. As with any contraceptives, mood changes can occur as a result of hormonal changes.
Other common Yaz side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight gain
- Decreased sex drive
- Menstrual irregularities
- Breast tenderness or pain
Yaz Blood Clots
The FDA issued a warning in 2011 stating that Yaz and other drospirenone contraceptives increased the risk of blood clots by 74 percent. This statistic is in comparison to older generation birth control pills which do not contain drospirenone. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a Yaz side effect that occurs when blood clots form in deep veins, such as veins in the leg.
DVT can cause a pulmonary embolism when the blood clot dislodges and travels through the patient’s lungs. This specific Yaz side effect is known as venous thromboembolism. Dislodged blood clots can also cause stroke when they travel to the patient’s brain.
Yaz Potassium Levels
Yaz side effects also include increased potassium levels in the body. This can cause hyperkalemia, or excessive blood potassium levels. Yaz can cause hyperkalemia due to drospirenone’s nature of decreasing the body’s hormones that regulate sodium and water. A drastic potassium increase can lead to sudden death. This Yaz side effect occurs because the pumping of the heart relies on steady levels of potassium. Kidney damage is another Yaz side effect that occurs from excessive potassium levels.
Yaz Side Effect Risk Factors
According to the Yaz safety warning, the highest risk of blood clots as a Yaz side effect occurs during the patient’s first year of treatment. This high risk occurs when the patient takes Yaz for the first time, as well as if the patient restarts Yaz treatment after not using it for a month or longer.
It is strongly advised that smokers over age 35 do not take Yaz. Tobacco smoking greatly increases the risk of developing Yaz side effects such as blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. The risk of developing these severe Yaz side effects increases with the patient’s age and amount of cigarettes smoked. Patients should be aware of the signs of severe Yaz side effects such as blood clots and stroke.
Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they experience the following Yaz side effects:
- Trouble speaking
- Severe chest pain
- Persistent leg pain
- Sudden and severe shortness of breath
- Jaundice, of yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Numbness or weakness in a leg or arm
- Severe, sudden, and unusual headache
- Sudden onset of partial or complete blindness