Yaz: Its Claimed Efficiency versus the Risks and Lawsuits under its Name

Yaz and Yasmin are two oral contraceptives most recommended by doctors around the world. While both products came from Berlex, Inc., USA, an affiliate of Schering AG (from Germany), Yasmin was introduced in 2001, five years earlier than Yaz (Berlex Inc. is now part of Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, after Bayer acquired Schering AG in 2007).

Yaz, in particular, gained the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval on March 16, 2006. The pill is known to prevent pregnancy more effectively than any other oral contraceptives; it works by preventing eggs to evolve, leaving the sperm without any egg to fertilize. Besides preventing pregnancy, Yaz was also recognized as an effective solution to moderate acne and bloating. Furthermore, it offered great relief to women experiencing anxiety and depression due to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Yaz contains 24 active pills (that is hormone-induced pills) and only four inactive or palliative pills; other oral contraceptives have a 21 active and 7-inactive (placebo)-pill content. The purpose of the 24 active pills is simply to boost the amount of synthetic hormones (in the user) during the month-long regimen; the inactive or palliative pills are intended to reduce upsetting symptoms during, or days immediately before, monthly periods.

The greatest advantage of Yaz over other oral pills, though, is drospirenone, which is the more developed form of synthetic progesterone. Drospirenone is known to: ease menstrual-related symptoms, like water retention; potentially lessen low-density lipoprotein levels, blood pressure, and body weight; and, increase high-density levels of lipoprotein.

The popularity of Yaz was greatly affected, though, by a research conducted by Health Canada in the mid of 2013 that led to the discovery of the death of Canadian women between the years 2007 and 2013 (during these same years, more than 600 cases of Yaz or Yasmin adverse effects were recorded). These 23 Canadians, who have either taken Yaz or Yasmine and whose ages fell between 14 and 44, were said to have died suddenly, due to clotting of blood in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart attack, or cerebral thrombosis (blood clotting which blocked the supply of blood to the brain), after months of birth control pill use.

The National Injury Law Center mentions in an article posted in its website that in 2011 the FDA had an investigation conducted to evaluate further the safety of Yaz. Earlier than this, in 2009, the agency had already requested Bayer to include in the drug’s label the greater risk of developing blood clots in women who take it.

By July of 2013, the number of lawsuits filed against Yaz’s manufacturer has already exceeded 10,000; Bayer is also said to have paid about $1.4 billion in settlement, the claimants numbering to 6,760. Despite these, no recall of Yaz has been made yet – all due to the belief that its benefits still outweigh the risks.


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