Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Beyaz are known as “fourth generation” oral contraceptives based upon their use of the unique progestin drospirenone. Drospirenone is a diuretic and, as such, creates unique and enhanced risks as compared to other oral contraceptives that contain different progestins.
Since the use of the “fourth generation” progestin drospirenone in Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Beyaz represented the first use of this progestin in oral contraceptives, historical research data was not available to support the safe use of birth control pills using this particular progestin in patients.
Studies performed prior to FDA approval in 2001, however, indicated that drospirenone had certain effects that are different, and potentially more dangerous, than the effects noted with older, “second generation” progestins. As a diuretic, drospirenone can cause an increase in potassium levels in the blood, which can then lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia can cause heart rhythm disturbances, such as extra systoles, pauses, or bradycardia, and, if left untreated or undetected, can be fatal.
When hyperkalemia disrupts normal heart rhythm, the flow of blood through the heart can be slowed to the point where the blood pools which can then lead to blood clot formation. Blood clots in the heart can cause a heart attack. Blood clots in the heart can also break off and travel to the lungs where they can cause a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots can also form in the legs and cause a deep vein thrombosis. Finally, blood clots can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. All of these conditions can lead to hospitalization, surgeries, serious injuries, and death.
In addition, drospirenone can cause gallbladder disease and kidney stone formation, which have been reported in a significant number of girls and women who ingested Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Beyaz. As a result, patients who develop gallbladder or renal problems often require hospitalization and surgery. Indeed, during the brief time that Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Beyaz have been on the market in the United States, hundreds of reports of injuries and deaths associated with use of these “fourth generation” oral contraceptives have been made to thle FDA.
To date, the FDA’s adverse event database includes a staggering number of serious adverse events reports for injuries that have been attributed to ingestion of Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and Beyaz. These adverse event reports include death as well as serious injuries associated with the following conditions: arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, hyperkalemic arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, myocardial infarction or heart attacks, strokes, transient ischemnic attacks, blood clot formation, pulmonary emboli, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, and sudden cardiac death.