Yasmin and Yaz birth control pills both rely upon a combination of ethinyl estradiol or estrogen and a hormone called drospirenone. The drospirenone in Yasmin and Yaz takes the place of progesterone. While these two pills use the same hormones, there are some differences between the two that may make one or the other a better choice for you.
Bayer HealthCare received FDA approval for Yasmin in 2001. Yasmin was developed by the German company Berlex Pharmaceuticals. In 2006, Bayer received approval for and released Yaz, a 24-day formulation of the Yasmin birth control pill. Yasmin and Yaz are the only two birth control pills on the market to use drospirenone.
Both Yaz and Yasmin prevent pregnancy with an effectiveness rate of more than 99 percent. The drospirenone in these oral contraceptives prevents ovulation, thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus. Ethinyl estradiol makes Yasmin and Yaz more effective and reduces the overall side effects of the pill.
Unlike Yasmin, Yaz is approved for use not only as a contraceptive. Yaz may be used to treat pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. The stable hormone levels and 24-day dosing of Yaz can dramatically improve the severe mood swings and depression associated with PMDD. Yaz can also treat moderate acne. Yaz is not intended to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate pre-menstrual syndrome or mild acne.
While both Yaz and Yasmin rely upon a combination of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, there are some differences. Yasmin uses a combination of 3 mg drospirenone and 30 mcg of ethinyl estradiol per tablet. Yaz has 3 mg of drospirenone per tablet but only 20 mcg of ethinyl estradiol. There are 21 active pills per package of Yasmin, along with seven spacer or placebo pills. Yaz includes 24 active pills per cycle, along with just four inactive pills.
Both Yasmin and Yaz do come with some risks and potential side effects. Mild common effects include breast tenderness, mood swings, nausea and weight gain. These are typically well tolerated. More serious complications include blood clots, pulmonary embolism and strokes. Drospirenone may increase potassium levels, making Yaz and Yasmin a poor choice for those with liver, kidney or adrenal issues.