Yaz, Yasmin, and Yasminelle are birth control formulations. They are also used to treat the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and, in early 2007, Yaz was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat moderate acne in women who desire an oral contraceptive for birth control.
All three are available in a tablet that contains three milligrams of drospirenone, a synthetic progestin, and 20 or 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol, a derivative of a commonly used orally bio-active estrogen.
Because the pharmaceutical profile of drospirenone is closer to that of natural progesterone (a hormone involved in pregnancy and the menstrual cycle), it has the following desirable properties:
- An anti-mineralocorticoid (results in less sodium retention)
- Counteracts the estrogen-stimulated activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (such as high blood pressure)
- Not androgenic (androgens can stimulate the development of masculine characteristics)
- Although similar in its activities, less acne, water retention and breast tenderness than spironolactone
In the summer of 2009, however, numerous lawsuits were filed by women who claim that Yaz had made them ill. They allege that Bayer, which markets the drug, had overstated its benefits and failed to adequately warn of its risks for injury. The FDA has specifically criticized two television commercials Bayer ran that minimized the potential health consequences of Yaz.
Evidence has since grown that Yaz carries serious health risks. The FDA has warned that in certain women, drospirenone can lead to hyperkalemia, a condition caused by excessive amounts of potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia can result in serious heart and other health complications.
Therefore, women predisposed to hyperkalemia, such as those with renal or adrenal insufficiency or liver dysfunction should not take Yaz. Women taking Yaz should also be careful about drug interactions that could increase potassium in addition to potentially dangerous drug interactions common to all combination oral contraceptives.
Women who take Yaz should read the package insert and have the potassium level in their blood monitored every few months. There are also numerous potential serious adverse reactions, dangerous interactions, and contraindications common to all combination oral contraceptives women who take Yaz should be aware of.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of using Yaz, Yasmin, or Yasminelle, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a qualified pharmaceutical injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.