Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, have been a widely accepted tool in pregnancy prevention for many decades. These hormonally based medications are also used to treat acne, abnormal periods, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
In recent years, a number of serious risks and side effects have been linked to birth control pills containing drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, including Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella. For each patient who considers using these birth control pills, a decision must be made: “Do the benefits outweigh the risks?” The answer to this question has been heavily disputed. Below, you’ll find information about the dangerous side effects associated with drospirenone birth control pills.
Are Certain Birth Control Pills More Dangerous?
Historically, hormonal contraceptives have been associated with a number of health risks. However, Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and other heavily prescribed birth control pills have been linked to even more serious complications. This is because the pills contain drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. The FDA has warned that together these hormones can cause adverse cardiovascular events to increase 2 to 3 times over other birth control hormones. A number of other birth control drugs contain drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, including: Zarah, Beyaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Safyral, and Syeda.
Common Birth Control Side Effects
There are many bothersome complaints associated with drospirenone birth control pills, like Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella. Some of these problems are mild and may get better over time. A few of the less serious birth control side effects include: weight gain, breast tenderness, mood changes, nausea and vomiting, abnormal spotting between periods, headaches, abdominal cramps, bloating, acne, diarrhea, and hair loss.
Serious adverse reactions are also commonly reported with birth control pills containing drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Most of the problems are related to the clotting reactions that these hormones cause in the bloodstream, including:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – A blood clot that develops usually in the lower legs, causing pain, inflammation and swelling.
- Stroke – a blood clot that becomes lodged in an artery of the brain, causing oxygen interruption to brain tissue. It may result in long-term, irreversible disability or even death.
- Pulmonary embolism – A blood clot that usually forms in another part of the body but then lodges in the lungs. The blood is unable to pick up oxygen and deliver to tissues and organs. Death may result if left untreated.
Allergic reactions, as well as problems with the gallbladder, liver, and kidneys have also been reported. Serious signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
- Rash or itchiness
- Tightening of throat
- Abnormal warmth, pain, redness or tenderness in one or both legs
- Weakness, generalized or when standing up
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Clay-colored stool
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Blurred vision
- Severe abdominal pain
- Slurred speech
- Sudden loss of muscular control or coordination
These complications may begin in the first few weeks of treatment, and many of them are medical emergencies. If you experience any of these symptoms, do not drive yourself to the hospital, but immediately call a medical professional or 911 if necessary.
Next Steps After Medical Symptoms
It may be scary to find out there are so many problems with birth control pills like Yaz and Yasmin. If you are experiencing adverse reactions you may be wondering what to do next. For less serious problems, consult with your doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to use an alternative form of birth control if you are advised to discontinue using Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella.
If you have already experienced serious birth control side effects, like stroke or DVT, you may want to consult with an attorney. Bayer, the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, has been accused of failing to warn consumers about the birth control side effects associated with its drugs. The company has already settled thousands of pharmaceutical liability lawsuits over injuries caused by its birth control pills.