Women have been coming forward in increasing numbers in the last few months to file suit against Yasmin birth control, YAZ birth control, and the generic form Ocella. These contraceptives allegedly cause hyperkalemia and can lead to serious illness or death.
According to legal news sources, YAZ controls roughly 20% of the birth control pill market and is the most popular form of “the pill” in the United States. In the last year Bayer, which manufactures the YAZ and Yasmin pills, collected $1.8 billion in global sales off the products, making YAZ and Yasmin products the company’s highest-selling drug worldwide.
Serious Side Effects of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella
While YAZ and Yasmin differ in dosage, they contain the same amount of drospirenone (DRSP), which is a synthetic progestin not found in other birth control pills. This compound allegedly elevates potassium, a condition also known as hyperkalemia.
Hyperkalemia can lead to disrupted heart rhythms and blood clots. Other side effects include stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis and even sudden death. Because YAZ and Yasmin are contraindicated for women over 35, these medical problems are more likely to occur in young women between the ages of 14 and 34, on whom Bayer has focused its advertising campaigns for YAZ.. The risks for women over the age of 35 are even higher.
FDA Warnings to Bayer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent multiple warnings to Bayer about their promotion and manufacturing practices regarding YAZ.
One such letter, sent in October 2008, warns the company that their advertisements distract the viewer from the side effects of the pill and undermine allowing the viewer to take seriously the dangerous and even life-threatening risk factors in taking YAZ. It also argues that certain YAZ commercials overstated the value of the drug to cure acne, when in fact such results have not been clinically proven.
In August 2009, Bayer received another warning from the FDA regarding a manufacturing plant in Germany that makes the DRSP for YAZ and Yasmin. The company was warned that its laboratory controls were deficient and that impurities had been found in their work. At least eight batches of DRSP were tested with a method unapproved by the FDA and shipped for use into the United States.
What Women Using YAZ Can Do
Women currently taking YAZ, Yasmin or Ocella need to consider strongly whether the risks are worth the cost. Other birth control options do not contain DRSP.
Any woman who is on YAZ, Yasmin or Ocella or has been on it in the past and who is experiencing symptoms of cardiac problems, respiratory illness or any other recently-developed health problems should see a doctor as soon as possible to check for any serious side effects to the drug.
Many personal injury attorneys are prepared to represent women and their families in court who have suffered from the use of these popular contraceptives. Any woman who has been the victim of stroke, heart attack or other illnesses potentially caused by the drug is entitled to speak to an attorney and become aware of her rights. She should seek out a qualified firm that is already prepared to take YAZ-related cases.