September 2012

The “Drug Watch” section of the September, 2012 edition of the American Journal of Nursing includes some startling information about hormonal contraceptive drugs containing the chemical drospirenone, such as YAZ,® Beyaz®, Safyral®, and Yasmin®.

Reviewing several studies comparing the relative risks of developing a blood clot for women using drospirenone-containing hormonal contraceptives versus women using other hormonal contraceptives, including one funded by the FDA itself, the American Journal of Nursing writes, “the FDA has concluded that there is an increased risk of blood clots if the contraceptive drospirenone; the increased risk may be as much as three times higher.”[1] (emphasis added)

Blood clots can be very dangerous, possibly resulting in stroke or heart attack.  Thankfully, the article goes on to note that these drugs now contain such warnings on their packaging,[2] but I ask, why use any drug that has been found to be more dangerous than others with no significant increase in efficacy?

Articles such as this can be used in a pharmaceutical lawsuit by a Yaz lawyer to demonstrate that it is now common knowledge in the scientific community that drugs containing drospirenone place users at a higher risk for blood clots than do other oral contraceptives – in some cases three times the risk.

[1] “Drug Watch” American Journal of Nursing September 2012. Vol. 112, No. 9; p. 24

[2] Ibid.

A study published in May, 2009 by the British Medical Journal notes that women using hormonal contraceptives containing drospirenone, such as Yaz®, are about 64% more likely to develop blood clots than the average woman using hormonal contraceptives.[1]  Blood clots pose a very serious risk to health, as they may cause heart attack or stroke.

For the study, titled “Hormonal contraception and risk of venous thromboembolism: national follow-up study” by Lidegaard et al. surveyed the health of 10.4 million women, and found that in the general population, the risk for developing blood clots was about 3 out of every 10,000 women,[2] while the risk for women using hormonal contraceptives was about double that, at 6.29 out of 10,000 women.[3]  But the Lidegaard team did not stop their research at that discovery; the study went on to evaluate the relative risk of developing blood clots for different kinds of hormonal contraceptives.

Compared to the average risk of developing blood clots posed by the ingestion of hormonal contraceptives, the study found that medications containing desogrestrel place women about 82% more likely to develop blood clots than the average user of hormonal contraceptives, gestodene about 86% more likely, cyproterone about 88% more likely, and drospirenone about 64% more likely than the average hormonal contraceptive user to develop blood clots.[4]

However, concerning what was considered the “crude rate” of blood clot development, calculated simply by dividing the number of blood clots observed by the number of woman-years for each particular pharmaceutical discussed in the study, drospirenone (YAZ®) was found to be the most dangerous, averaging 7.8 observed blood clots per 10,000 users.  This stood above all other hormonal contraceptives tested, with norethisterone at 4.5, levonorgestrel at 5.8, norgestimate at 4.6, desogestrel at 6.5, gestodene at 7.0, and cyproterone at 7.1 observed blood clots per 10,000 women.

Because of the startling information presented here, this article can be used in a Yaz lawsuit, demonstrating that the risks of YAZ® are much higher than the average hormonal contraceptive.

[1] Lidegaard, Ø., et al. (2009) “Hormonal contraception and risk of venous thromboembolism: national follow-up study” BMJ 2009;339b2890 p. 1

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid