October 2012

In the “Medication Update” section of a 2011 edition of the medical journal The Nurse Practitioner, a warning regarding the use of drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives is made.  Oral contraceptives containing drospirenone are YAZ®, Beyaz®, Safyal®, and Yazmin®.

The warning reads as follows:

“The FDA notified healthcare providers and patients that two newly published studies evaluating the risk of [blood clot development] in women who use oral contraceptives (OCs) containing the progestin drospirenone found a greater risk of [blood clot] associated with drospirenone-containing OCs compared with OCs that contain levonorgestrel.”[1]

That increased risk of developing a blood clot was stated to be “two or three times greater … in women taking drospirenone-containing OCs than was seen among women taking levonorgestrel-containing OCs.”[2]

The development of a blood clot can be a very serious medical event.  If a blood clot becomes lodged in the brain, one can have a stroke, and if a blood clot becomes lodged in the heart, one may have a heart attack.

A lawyer may cite this article in a Yaz lawsuit to demonstrate that the medical community has been aware of the increased risk of adverse health effects posed to users of oral contraceptives such as YAZ®, and that users of this and other such drugs are placed at higher risk without any potential higher reward: drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives are no more effective than those that do not contain drospirenone.

[1] “Medication Update” The Nurse Practitioner Vol. 36, No. 8. © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; p. 56

[2] Ibid

A 2010 report by the medical journal Reactions describes the case of a 20-year-old woman, otherwise in good health, who suffered a heart attack while taking an oral contraceptive containing the chemical drospirenone, found in contraceptives such as YAZ®.

The case of this woman, holding no risk factors for blood clot or heart attack other than the consumption of drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives, warranted the following comment from the author: “We consider that the use of the contraceptive pill contributed significantly to the thromboembolic event described here.”[1]  (Thromboembolic event means blood clot.) Thankfully, the woman recovered.[2]

Though this article does not provide explicit biological evidence of how drospirenone-containing contraceptives produce increased risk to users of blood clot, this publication may be used by a Yaz lawyer to illustrate one simple case of the undue dangers drospirenone use may pose.

[1] “Ethinylestradiol/drospirenone – Pulmonary Embolism: Case Report” Reactions April 24 2010 No. 1298 © 2012 Adis Data Information BV; p. 17

[2] Ibid

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An article published in 2009 in the British Medical Journal by Dr. A. van Hylckama Vlieg (et al.) analyzes the risk of developing a blood clot for women using hormonal contraceptives (versus non-users) and evaluates the relative risk for developing a blood clot between different types of hormonal contraceptives used today, naming the active chemical in the drug commonly known as YAZ® as significantly more dangerous than the average hormonal contraceptive.

For this study, Vlieg surveyed 1524 women who had developed blood clots regarding their use of hormonal contraceptives, and found that 72.4% were using such contraceptives at the time of the clot.[1]  And through statistical analysis, the study establishes that “overall, current oral contraceptive use was associated with a fivefold increased risk of venous thrombosis”[2] (Venous thrombosis is the instance of a blood clot.)

Among different oral contraceptives, however, health risks are not equal.  Evaluating the rate of venous thrombosis among users of many oral contraceptives commonly used today, Vlieg found that users of contraceptives containing drospirenone (such as YAZ®) are placed at a 70% greater risk of venous thrombosis than the average oral contraceptive user, and 630% more likely to develop a blood clot than is a non-user.[3]

A lawyer can use this article in a Yaz lawsuit to demonstrate that drugs such as YAZ® pose an unnecessarily high risk of venous thrombosis to users, considering that there is no observed increase in drug efficacy to theoretically justify the risk.

[1] Vlieg, A.H., et al. (2009) “The venous thrombotic risk of oral contraceptives, effects of oestrogen dose and progesterone type: results of the MEGA case-control study” BMJ2009;339;b2921; p. 3

[2] Ibid.

[3] Vlieg, A.H., et al. (2009) “The venous thrombotic risk of oral contraceptives, effects of oestrogen dose and progesterone type: results of the MEGA case-control study” BMJ2009;339;b2921; p. 4