Yaz is known to have dangerous side effects but I didn’t expect this. The realm of oral contraceptives is getting a bit messy these days. Some of you may remember my issues with the birth control pill, Yaz. After surviving a pulmonary embolism, I can now consider myself relatively healthy although doctors are not sure if I will have more complications in the future. Even though I’ve been off my medication for two and a half years, I am still dealing with what happened everyday. There are still things I have to avoid like soy products, it makes me paranoid to be around people that smoke, and any time I have pains in my chest I freak out. The mental and emotional aspects of what happened are still very much a part of my life. It’s been almost three years since I was in the hospital for my birth control, and it seems that just now the FDA is taking it seriously.
I came across this article while researching my injury in 2009 that says Bayer was forced to spend more than $20 million in corrective advertising after they falsely advertised Yaz. The FDA complained that their “two television ads overstated the drug’s benefits while understating its risks.” After a lot of careful thought, I ended up filing a complaint last year along with thousands of other women and the first trials are happening next month. The trials are broken down by injury, and pulmonary embolisms are first on the list. I’m a mix between nervous and excited about the whole thing, especially since it’s been so long. I didn’t know when this first happened that facing Bayer would even be an option, but I’m glad that I went through with it. In addition to this lawsuit, Bayer is now facing the FDA on claims that they withheld important information regarding the increased risk of blood clots in Yasmin and Yaz.
Former FDA commissioner, David Kessler, testified that “Bayer presented a selective view of the data, and that presentation obscured the potential risks associated with Yasmin.” Bayer’s Yasmin family (which includes Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella) shows a significant increased risk of blood clots. “In October, the FDA warned that women taking the pills were 74 percent more likely to suffer blood clots than women on other low-estrogen contraceptives.” Bayer also may have submitted incorrect “white papers.” White papers are scientific comparisons to other drugs, and Bayer’s original draft showed “the reporting rate for Yasmin was 10 fold higher than with the other products.” The draft also said that “the total rate of confirmed VTEs per year was three or four times higher than the other three oral contraceptives reviewed.” However, knowing these increased risks, Bayer submitted a different draft and continued to produce the drug without doing a full review.
The FDA is also recommending revised labels on birth control pills so that women are more aware of these risks while they’re deciding whether to take them off the market. Women’s advocacy groups are concerned that this is creating a lot of negativity toward birth control, which is ridiculous. The FDA is not trying to scare anyone out of taking birth control. They’re trying to make consumers aware of the serious risks that come with it, as those risks have been ignored in the past.
I still have friends on Yaz and Yasmin, which is just terrifying for me. While you can sit here and say there’s a one in a million chance your birth control can harm you, that’s just not the case. You’re six times more likely to suffer from blood clots and other adverse side effects when taking oral contraceptives in the Yasmin family. There’s a reason Bayer is facing the FDA and being sued by thousands of women. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: birth control is great. I don’t want to scare anyone off from taking it, but I don’t want anyone to go through what I, and so many other women, did. There are plenty of other birth control pills out there that are actually safe. I’m interested to see what will happen with these pills and Bayer, but I really just want everyone to be informed on what they’re taking.