Back in 2010 I warned that the progestin in Bayer’s birth control pill Yaz® was uniquely dangerous and carried an increased risk of a venous thromboembolism, which is a blood clot, usually in the legs, that travels to the lungs and can be fatal.
In April 2011 the British Medical Journal published research concluding that, “… the risk of non-fatal venous thromboembolism among users of oral contraceptives containing drospirenone seems to be around twice that of users of oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel…” In a recent Good Morning America piece on Yaz, one woman’s experience with non-fatal venous thromboembolism led to four minutes of no oxygen to the brain and permanent blindness. She just wanted to get rid of her acne and PMS before her wedding. Yaz has been so heavily marketed as a cure for acne and bloating that Bayer was reprimanded by the FDA and ordered to tone it down.
The FDA is currently conducting a safety review, “…on the possible increased risk of blood clots with birth control pills containing drospirenone…” with conclusions due out in December. But why wait for the lumbering and politically tainted decision-making process of the FDA to get off this dangerous drug?
For details on how and why Yaz is dangerous, read Yaz Side Effects.
The risk of blood clots in women who take Yaz was compared to those using levonorgestrel, the progestin found in other oral contraceptives and the Mirena IUD. It has its own problems—read Buyer be Aware Report on Mirena for details.
What’s a woman to do about birth control? This is a deeply personal choice. Diaphragms and cervical caps are arguably the safest form of birth control, and are highly effective at preventing pregnancy when used as directed. The Paragard IUD, which doesn’t contain any hormone-like drugs (e.g. Mirena) is probably the next safest option.
Jick SS, Hernandez RK, “Risk of non-fatal venous thromboembolism in women using oral contraceptives containing drospirenone compared with women using oral contraceptives containing levonorgestrel: case-control study using United States claims data,” BMJ. 2011 Apr 21;342:d2151.