Yaz Birth Control Litigation Continues as New Side Effects Come to Light
By Nathan D. Williams, Staff Writer
Brought to market in 2006, Yasmin quickly grew into the most popular birth control pill. Not only was it advertised for pregnancy prevention, manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals also claimed the pill could help women lose weight, treat acne and premenstrual moodiness.
Blood clot issues
Not long after coming onto the market though, complaints about various side effects came flooding in. Not surprisingly industry-sponsored research found no connection between Yaz and various side effects. However, the FDA discovered a 74% higher chance of blood clots for patients taking medications containing drospirenone, which is the specific type of synthetic progesterone found in Yaz.
Despite its continued popularity, reports of Yasmin patients experiencing blood clot issues like pulmonary embolisms or deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease and other complications have become fairly common. Some patients even were experiencing heart attacks traced to these clots. One patient in her early 20s suffered a debilitating stroke after multiple blood clots became lodged in her brain.
Although Bayer and some physicians maintain the drug is safe and should even be available over-the-counter, critics have been urging the FDA to recall any birth control medications containing drospirenone.
Women were not warned
Since 2009, Bayer has paid out approximately $1.7 billion to women who charge they were not warned about these elevated risks for blood clots and other side effects. Despite settling more than 17,000 cases, the pharmaceutical giant has several thousand other cases that go unresolved. Most of these cases were part of a federal multidistrict litigation, which at its peak, was the largest case of its kind in the nation.
In order to settle claims regarding blood clot issues, Bayer agreed earlier this month to place $57 million in a settlement fund. While the company still believes Yaz to be safe, Bayer Vice President Steven Immergut explains, “Bayer agreed to this settlement, without admission of wrongdoing or liability, in order to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation and to put the focus back on what matters most – the needs of patients.”
An additional side effect of Yaz comes to light
After extensive study by several prestigious institutions, the FDA determined that birth control drugs containing drospirenone should include additional warnings regarding blood clot risks.
Recently though, reports began emerging about increased risk of pseudotumor cerebri in patients taking Yasmin. This rare brain disease is also known as intracranial hypertension or “false brain tumor,” a disease that causes fluid buildup in the brain and increased pressure on optic nerves. Most of the time, surgery is needed to address this issue.
Of the nearly 30,000 reported cases of negative side effects from taking Yaz, 14 people (0.05%) reported having pseudotumer cerebri.
Despite all of these claims and the FDA’s warning, Yasmin continues to be prescribed to patients throughout the U.S. Many doctors believe the drug is dangerous and avoid it while others still maintain it is safe.
If you’ve been taking Yaz or another medication containing drospirenone and start experiencing any blood clotting, constant headaches, blurred vision or dizziness, you should stop taking the medicine immediately and speak with a physician.
And if these side effects caused extensive damage requiring surgery or lost time from work, you should reach out to a pharmaceutical product liability attorney in your area today.