If you’re looking for a new oral contraceptive, you’ve probably heard about Yasmin on commercials and in print ads. Yasmin and Yaz birth control pills, manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, use a different type of hormone than other contraceptive pills on the market. The different hormone in Yasmin does cause this birth control pill to react differently with the body than other pills, in both positive and negative ways.
Yasmin works like other birth control pills on the market. Drospirenone, the hormone in Yasmin, prevents ovulation. Drospirenone is a type of synthetic progestin, an analog for spironolactone used by many obstetricians and gynecologists to treat hormonal conditions. Other contraceptive effects of this pill include thickened cervical mucus and a thinner uterine lining. Ethinyl estradiol in the pill helps to alleviate some of the side effects of contraceptive pills including Yasmin.
Taken as prescribed, Yasmin is more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Actual failure rates for all oral contraceptives are somewhat higher; however, you can keep your risk low. Take your pill at the same time each day, and use a backup contraceptive if you miss more than one dose of Yasmin.
Bayer HealthCare pharmaceuticals released Yasmin in 2001, as an alternative to progesterone and estrogen-based birth control pills already on the market. Yaz uses the same hormones as Yasmin, but is available in a 24-day rather than a 21-day formulation. Yaz came on the market in 2006. Yaz is approved as not only a contraceptive but also as a treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and moderate acne.
Yaz, the 24-day formulation of Yasmin, offers some distinct advantages over typical contraceptives. Drospirenone remains active in the body for a longer time than other forms of progesterone, keeping hormone levels more stable throughout the menstrual cycle. For some women, this can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It may also help to treat moderate acne and is FDA approved for both the treatment of acne and PMDD. Yaz is not intended for the treatment of normal premenstrual syndrome or mild acne.
Yaz and Yasmin are the subject of a number of lawsuits. While the manufacturers of Yaz clearly identify common risks of oral contraceptives, including blood clots and strokes, lawsuits suggest that these may be more common with drospirenone-based contraceptives. According to Bayer HealthCare, drosprirenone may raise potassium levels in the body and should not be taken with certain medications, including NSAIDS like ibuprofen. You also shouldn’t take Yaz or Yasmin if you suffer from liver or kidney problems. Blood tests may be necessary for some women.