Yasmin is the brand name for the oral contraceptive tablets that contain a combination of the progestin drospirenone and the estrogen compound ethinyl estradiol. Yasmin is used like other types of oral contraceptives and, as with other birth control pills, there are specific benefits and risks associated with its use. However, because Yasmin is the only contraceptive pill that contains drospirenone, there are possible side effects exclusive to Yasmin users.
According to Drugs.com, Yasmin is a contraceptive pill that works to prevent pregnancy in two ways: first, by preventing the likelihood that the ovaries will produce and release a mature egg, and, second, by stimulating changes in the tissue lining the cervix and the uterus to make it more difficult for sperm to come into contact with an egg and, if an egg does become fertilized, harder for that fertilized egg to implant in the uterine wall.
The main difference between Yasmin and other forms of oral contraceptives is that Yasmin contains drospirenone. Go Ask Alice, a health-focused website based at Columbia University, reports that drospirenone allows women who use Yasmin to avoid many of the unpleasant side effects that occur with traditional forms of oral contraceptives, including severe mood swings and premenstrual syndrome.
Yasmin is prescribed for more than just the prevention of pregnancy, although that is its main use. It is commonly used as a treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and acne. The Mayo Clinic describes premenstrual dysphoric disorder as an extremely severe form of premenstrual syndrome that can cause deep depression, irritability, a constant feeling of anxiety and dramatic, unexplained mood swings. And, although, Yasmin is not officially approved for treating acne, eMedTV reports that physicians often prescribe the medication for its contraceptive abilities if treating acne is also a concern.
According to Go Ask Alice, since one of Yasmin’s main active ingredients, drospirenone, is essential to the regulation of the body’s electrolyte balance, one of the most common benefits of using Yasmin instead of other oral contraceptives is that Yasmin does not cause the same water retention, swelling and premenstrual weight gain as other birth control pills. Many women experience a sharp decrease in their premenstrual symptoms and have clearer, healthier skin.
Information provided by Bayer Healthcare, the manufacturers of Yasmin, records the following as the most common side effects of the contraceptive: vomiting, nausea, tender breasts, unexpected weight gain, spotting between menstrual cycles and problems wearing contact lenses. However, other instances of much more serious side effects have been noted; these include strokes, blood clots forming in the legs or lungs, hypertension, breast cancer, liver cancer, gall bladder disease, edema and extreme depression.
The main Yasmin website warns that there are certain groups of women who should avoid using this form of contraceptive. Women taking any form of potassium-affecting drugs–such as ibuprofen, Aleve, heparin, Capoten or Avapro–should not take Yasmin without notifying their physician of the medications they are taking. The drospirenone in Yasmin increases potassium levels in the body and, when combined with other medications that shift or increase potassium levels, can cause a number of serious medical conditions. In addition, women who have a history of liver, kidney or adrenal disease or cancer should not take Yasmin, as well as women who have experienced problems with jaundice, blood clots or cancer of the reproductive system. Women who smoke or have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels should only use Yasmin after discussing these topics with their physician.