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Eric Terry
Eric Terry
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Things We Wish We Knew Yaz-terday

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The one-time poster child of birth control prescriptions, Yaz has quickly become one of the riskiest oral contraceptives available.

Released in 2006, the contraceptive Yaz generated sales of nearly $2 billion in its first year alone, making it at one time the leading birth control pill on the market and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceutical’s top-selling drug.

Promoted as the choice for women seeking relief from premenstrual symptoms and acne, Yaz’s marketing touted the birth control pill as one with multiple benefits.

“Yaz is the only birth control pill proven to treat the physical and emotional premenstrual symptoms that are severe enough to impact your life,” claimed many of the advertisements; advertising statements that have since been removed.

Instead, recent studies have shown that this marketing was not only misleading but also dangerous. These independent studies have found that Yaz carries higher blood clotting risks than other leading birth control pills.

While all birth controls come with some risk, Yaz is unique in that it contains a hormone called drospirenone that some experts believe may trigger more blood clots than other birth control pills because of elevated levels of potassium in the body.

In 2008, the FDA said that Yaz was shown not to be effective for common premenstrual symptoms, just a rare and serious form of them, and that Yaz’s success was misleadingly overstated. As a result, Bayer agreed to spend $20 million on corrective television advertisements; a lot of money to correct something Bayer either knew or should have known from the beginning.

According to the AdverseEvents Monitor, as of March of this year, there have been over 18,000 adverse health reports where Yaz was found to be the primary suspect.

As the risks associated with Yaz continue to come to light, one has to question the integrity of Bayer’s original studies that found no increased risks. Where did Bayer draw the line between corporate interests and patients safety?

The risks associated with Yaz are severe and have been linked, but not limited to: gallbladder disease, heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism. As always, if you or family members are considering birth control options, please consult with your doctor when making the decision that is right for you.