In the wake of over 1,000 lawsuits filed by women who claim to have suffered serious injuries from the effects of birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, German manufacturer Bayer has updated labelling information on those products regarding the risks of their use. The new information, which was recently approved by the FDA in April, highlights the risk of thromboembolism (blood clots migrating through the venous or arterial system and causing occlusion) in women using Yasmin compared to those in women using oral contraceptives containing other progestins.
A progestin is a steroid hormone used to produce the effect of the female hormone progesterone. Different birth control pills may use different progestins to produce the contraceptive effect. A recent study conducted in the Netherlands, which compared the effects of a variety of oral contraceptives in a population of over 1500 women and was published in the British Medical Journal highlights an increased risk of venous thrombosis for women using all types of birth control compared to women who use no contraception, but observed a 6.3-fold increased risk of thrombosis in women using newer contraceptives composed of the fourth-generation progestin called drospirenone, which is used in Yasmin. Other contraceptives which use the earlier-generation progestin levonorgestrel noticed a smaller increase in risk (3.8-fold).
The overall conclusion is that the drospirenone-based Yasmin poses a significantly higher risk of blood clots compared to levonorgestrel-based contraceptives while providing the same contraceptive effect. Noting that women should use the contraceptive which poses the fewest risks to their health, the researchers therefore concluded that many women do not use the safest oral contraceptive available to them.
In addition to the incidence of venous and arterial blood clots, drospirenone is suspected to affect the body’s potassium levels, increasing the risk of serious side effects including hyperkalemia (elevated blood potassium level) and arrhythmias. In addition ,drospirenone is suspected to lead to an increased risk of gallbladder disease, liver or kidney failure, pancreatitis, dehydration, hypertension and death. Lawsuits against Bayer concerning Yaz and Yasmin have been filed in both federal and state courts.
If you or a loved one has suffered side effects from the use of Yaz or Yasmin, contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham at 800-525-8028 or via our website for a free consultation concerning your legal options. Our firm has a doctor and nurse on staff as well as three decades of experience in large pharmaceutical product liability cases at both the federal and state levels.