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Yaz and Yasmine: Are These Birth Control Pills Safe?

Anne Marie Eakins, a 34-year-old history teacher in Grafton, OH, developed blood clots in both lungs in 2007 and even lost partial use of her right lung. The cause, as she sees it? The newish oral contraceptive Yaz, the top-selling birth control pill in the US, which she switched to after a decade of using different kinds of birth control pills without incurring health problems. She is now suing the makers, Bayer HealthCare pharmaceuticals.

Like 74 other plaintiffs against the makers of Yaz and its sister pill, Yasmine, which was introduced a few years before, Eakins decided to make the switch in part because of the added benefits touted in multimillion dollar ads that ran on television. Yaz, which contains even less estrogen than low-estrogen Yasmine, is advertised as a product that could reduce acne and severe PMS, in addition to preventing pregnancy. How do Yaz and Yasmine differ from other birth control pills? To find out,


Although both Yaz and Yasmine come with the standard warning that the hormones in birth control pills (estrogen plus progestin) can increase the risk of stroke and blood clots in a woman's legs or lungs, lawyers representing the plaintiffs and regulatory agencies claim that Bayer's ads overstate the products' effectiveness and don't adequately warn of possibly higher risks of clots unique to Yaz and Yasmine.


They say Bayer doesn't take into account research that indicated that a hormone unique to the products (drospirenone) increases the likelihood of clots compared to birth control that has the standard levonorgestrel hormone. (Lawyers claim Bayer relied on its research findings in Germany that concluded there is the same risk, over Dutch and Danish research that had the opposite conclusion.) Other criticisms are equally troubling: that the manufacturing plants in Germany responsible for the hormones in Yaz and Yasmine differ in quality control from what is required for US products; that studies conducted were performed with an ethnically homogeneous group, not taking into account blood-clot risk factors in a more ethnically variable US market; and finally, that Yaz and Yasmine are marketed for conditions like PMS, for which the drug is not approved.

I considered switching to these kinds of birth control pills because of the claim that they prevented severe PMS. Do you believe the marketing for products like Yaz and Yasmine or do you do your research before you buy?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
biarose biarose 7 years
Whats Yaz/Yasmine like with the whole bloating side-effect? That's what I hate about the pill.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I'm on a different pill, but I've heard horror stories about all of them. All the minor and serious side effects are listed. You take a risk with any medication.
ms-jamerz ms-jamerz 7 years
I've been on Yasmine going on 4 years now and am pretty sure I haven't experienced any serious side-effects from it besides my missing libido. I will admit that these horror stories kind of worry me but not enough to switch yet. I will just continue to monitor my body/the way I feel and by talking to my doctor because like we all know every medication has their side-effects.
Antioxidant Antioxidant 7 years
I was on Yaz for about 2 years and the only problem I had was my lack of libido. Now I'm taking Loestrin... and I'm kinda glad I'm off of Yaz for various reasons.
Aimeelo Aimeelo 7 years
I was on Yaz for a year and it gave me the WORST cramps ever. It was like lightning in my uterus. Gross! My gyno didn't think that it was the Yaz but I asked her to switch me to another pill and the cramps went away instantly.
kea718 kea718 7 years
I've been on Yasmin for about 6 years now. I've had no health issues related to taking it. All birth control pills have some risk associated with it. Actually, all pills in general have some health risks involved.
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 7 years
I love yaz and this article is is not marketed to prevent or help causes of pms, it is, however, marketed to fight the causes of PMDD which is what I suffer from and that is why I take yaz...Get your information correct before you write this article, Yaz may cause higher blot clots in women than other BC pills, but it's not PMS, it's PMDD.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
so why is she suing again? she knew what she was getting into. we all taking the pill sign off that these complications could happen to us. it's right there on the box.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 7 years
Sorry, but all hormonal birth control comes with risks of clots. It's just that Yaz is trendy to sue right now, just like OrthoEvra (sp?) was trendy to sue a few years back. My guess is that in 2011, NuvaRing will be the trendy one to sue. All birth control has risks. Anyone who goes in not knowing that shouldn't be mad at the manufacturer for the consequences.
angie_d angie_d 7 years
I am currently taking Yasmine and have been for the past 2 months. It seems to be working just fine for me. I started taking it because I used to get really bad PMS a week before I would start my period I never wanted to see anybody, do anything, or eat. Normally I'm a really motivated person so it was like I would become bi-polar and change completely. I couldn't deal anymore so my doctor put me on Yasmine and I don't have those problems at all anymore. My hormones balanced out really well, and I haven't noticed any problems besides nausea at times. I did some research on Yasmine a little too before I started taking it...and also kept a mood journal to watch the change. I didn't find too many bad things about it compared to other birth control I've heard about from friends. I've only seen improvement so far!
Ac2366 Ac2366 7 years
I've been taking Yaz for almost 3 years now. Other than the complete lack of sex drive I have had no problems with this pill. I have no pms symptoms and a short, light, clockwork period. I have to admit that the horror stories I have heard about Yaz are concerning. I plan on bringing up these issues with my gyno at my next visit, but since it has been working for me for this long I'm not scared.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I've taken Yasmin for 5 years and never had any problems at all, and for 3 of those years I was a smoker as well. I think the lawsuits are kind of ridiculous, as all birth controls carry some risk of blood clots. It's one of the most well-publicized side effects.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
I am on Ocella (generic of Yasmin), and guess what? ALL birth control has risks. If it is not one pill, it's the other pill or patch or whatever it is. Birth control pills in general can cause clotting. Birth control in general can cause strokes. You will always take a risk when it comes to meds, and just because there is a risk doesn't mean you will drop dead. I have been on Yasmin for years, and Ocella for around 6 months (same pill, essentially). I am not dead yet :)
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
I'm on Ocella (a generic version), and I intend to switch birth control when I go to the health center tomorrow. I was going to originally because I'm paying $50 a pack right now, and I want a cheaper pill, but now I want to with all this clot stuff going on. My family has a huge history of people having strokes (one of my uncles had a pretty bad one once, and another uncle of mine gets them randomly... luckily, I live next door to a hospital right now, with an emergency clinic a couple blocks away, and the university health center is walkable), so... genetics PLUS something that may cause blood clots? I'm on this one over what I used to be on because I was having really erratic emotions (think PMS, only ALL the time, not just a couple days a month). I still get pretty annoying PMS emotion-wise on Ocella, but it's only a couple days a month now, instead of ALL month. Though, don't all birth control pills say "may cause blood clots in some cases" on the packaging?
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
I know that my gyno knows me best and can assess my body and my needs. what might be most popular isn't necessarily the best suited. I am not on either of these pills and never have been and am comfortable and happy with mine
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