Date Published: Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Controversy continues to swirl around Yaz and Yasmin,
Bayer Healthcare's popular birth control pills. While Bayer touts
two studies it commissioned as proof that the drugs are safe, other
studies have found that contraceptives like Yaz and Yasmin increase
the risk of blood clots more than other types of birth control
Yasmin, first marketed in 2001, and Yaz, introduced in 2006, are
made with a synthetic progestin called drospirenone. It was once
thought that this ingredient was safer than other forms of
progestin. But according to a report in The Los Angeles Times, two
2009 studies published in The British Medical Journal have called
this theory into question.
One study, which looked at blood clot risks in healthy Danish
women ages 15 to 49, found that of 4,213 cases of various kinds of
blood clots reported between 1995 and 2005, more than 2,000
occurred in women who used oral contraceptives. Contraceptive pills
made with the synthetic progestins desogestrel, gestodone and
drospirenone all had a higher risk of blood clots compared to those
made with an older form of progestin called levonorgestrel.
The second study, which involved 3,200 women in the Netherland,
found those taking pills with levonorgestrel had a four times
higher risk of getting blood clots than women taking no birth
control. However, the other types of pills carried a higher risk.
Those made with drospirenone were 6.3 times more likely to be
associated with blood clots. Only pills made with desogestrel had a
higher risk - 7.3 times greater.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and director of Public
Citizen's Health Research Group, told The Los Angeles
Times that the studies' conclusions are reason for concern. He said
the second study "clearly concludes that the safest thing to do is
take the older [birth control pills], not the third generation or
Yaz." Wolfe also added that his group has already put Yasmin on its
"Do Not Use" list because it can raise blood potassium levels.
Bayer, of course, insists that Yaz and Yasmin are safe.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the company cites two studies
that concluded that there was no greater risk of mortality, cancer
or cardiovascular problems from pills with drospirenone than other
oral contraceptives. But both of those studies were paid for by the
The controversy surrounding Yaz and Yasmin has attracted
scrutiny. According to The Times, the U.S. Food & Drug
Administration (FDA) is conducting an ongoing study of pills like
Yaz and Yasmin to evaluate their safety. As of November, the agency
had received reports of 993 cases of pulmonary embolism (blood
clots in the lungs), 487 of deep vein thrombosis (clots in the deep
veins) and 229 of other blood clots for the two medications
combined, The Times said.
In the U.S., Yaz and Yasmin have been named in about 1,100
lawsuit, many of which are consolidated in a multidistrict
litigation in federal court in the Southern District in Illinois.
Bayer also faces three putative consumer class actions claiming
economic loss, one of them also claiming personal injuries, as well
as two class actions in Canada. The lawsuits claim Yaz and Yasmin
caused plaintiffs to suffer blood clots, heart attacks, stroke,
gallbladder disease and other health problems.
NewsInferno.com disclaimer: This article was posted on
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 9:13 am at NewsInferno.com and is filed
under Pharmaceuticals, YAZ Birth Control.