Yaz uses a different hormone than most combination birth control pills. It relies upon estrogen and drospirenone, rather than estrogen and progesterone. Yaz offers some beneficial side effects, including a reduction of acne and improvement of pre-menstrual dysmorphic disorder, as well as providing reliable contraception. This pill does have some possible risks not typical of oral contraceptives that can make it a poor choice for some women.
The Yaz birth control pill is a newer formulation of Yasmin, with 24 active pills as opposed to 21. Yaz, like Yasmin, relies upon a combination of ethinyl estradiol and a hormone called drospirenone. Yasmin received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2001; Yaz received it in 2006. In 2008, the FDA ordered Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures both Yasmin and Yaz, to stop airing ads that implied Yaz was a treatment for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and acne. In 2009, quality control issues with batches of the hormone drospirenone appeared, as well as a number of lawsuits alleging substantial health complications.
Yaz prevents pregnancy like other hormonal contraceptives. Unlike other birth control pills, Yaz has also been shown to treat premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD). For women who want a hormonal contraceptive, Yaz may also be used to treat moderate acne. The long half-life of drospirenone, combined with a 24-day cycle of active pills, provides a more stable hormone level throughout the menstrual cycle.
Common side effects of Yaz include weight gain, breast pain, headaches and nausea. Yaz also increases the risk of blood clots and strokes, particularly among smokers. These side effects are typical of most oral contraceptives; however, the drospirenone in Yaz has provoked some particular safety concerns not usually found in birth control pills.
Yaz may increase potassium above normal levels in the body. If you have kidney, liver or adrenal conditions, you should not take Yaz and should opt for a different contraceptive choice. Women who take certain medications for daily treatment of long-term conditions, including common anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen, should have their potassium levels monitored.
Class action lawsuits across the country suggest that both Yaz and Yasmin put women at a significantly higher risk of blood clots, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, gallbladder disease and even death than other oral contraceptives. You should stop taking Yaz and seek medical help immediately if you experience stomach pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the eyes; chest pain or shortness of breath; severe headache or vomiting, numbness or pain in one side of the body; and sharp, sudden calf pain.