Popular Birth Control Pills Are a Nightmare That Must End


yasmin yazType in Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals' Yaz or Yasmin into Google, and above any regular drug info, you'll see a slew of legal sites pop up. The paid-for links inquire if you're a "Victim of Birth Control," ask if you were "Hurt By Birth Control," wonder if you are looking for a settlement? Hey, what's this about gallbladder attacks and gallstones? Blood clot risk? STROKE? Huh??

As you probably know, these popular, newer, lower-dose birth control pills made with the synthetic progesterone known as drospirenone have developed quite a bad rep for themselves over the last couple years. And judging from firsthand experience, research, news stories, and friends' anecdotal evidence, it's completely warranted. Now, the FDA is investigating the situation.

Seems to me their valiant effort is too little too late.

I appreciate the FDA's concern in the matter, but other researchers have already covered similar ground. For instance, a recent study even showed that these pills lead to a 20 percent increased risk of gallbladder disease and another British study found women who took them had 2.7 times greater risk for developing a blood clot than women taking "an older progestin."

And women already know the score. Besides suffering from gallbladder disease or blood clots, so many women who have been on Yaz or Yasmin report miscellaneous side effects such as: "I was a crazy person," "I was basically bipolar," "I felt numb," "My hair fell out," "I couldn't lose weight no matter what," "I lost my sex drive altogether, and it hasn't come back even months after stopping."

What a nightmare.

If the FDA is just out to confirm what other researchers and women already know, that's fine. But it's certainly not necessary. Nor will it necessarily be the most unbiased research. Already, they're leading women astray, asserting that previous studies have not reported an increased risk of blood clots, and that "women taking the pills with drospirenone should not stop taking them without first consulting their doctors." Apparently, women are incapable of deciding for themselves whether their pill is right for them or not. We need hand-holding from our doctors to figure out what's best for our health and well-being.

And oh, isn't this cute ... Bayer says they're "working closely with the FDA on the matter." Oh, I'm sure they are. Working to ensure they don't lose millions of dollars if the FDA affirms what prior studies have found.

So, thanks, but no thanks, FDA. It seems we already have the overwhelming evidence to conclude that pills containing drospirenone (Beyaz, Safyral, Yasmin, Yaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Syeda, Zarah) should be pulled.

That said, there are plenty of other, safer birth control methods for women who currently use any of these. As far as pills go, I am really not a fan at all, because I think they all wreck your natural hormonal rhythm to create a bevy of problems ... But birth control pills that contain levonorgestrel, another version of progestin, seem to be significantly less risky (at least when it comes to blood clots) than those that use drospirenone. And hey, there's always the safest bet -- nonhormonal birth control, like the copper-T IUD or condoms!

What's your take on these lower-dose pills? Do you think the FDA and the pharmaceutical company have women's best interest at heart with this new investigation?


Image via Gnarls Monkey/Flickr

birth control, digestive issues, general health, emotional health, obgyn, sex life


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RanaA... RanaAurora

Actually, there's a side here you totally didn't consider. I have to take Yaz/Yasmin/Oscella/Zarah, the ones WITH drospirenone, because aside from (and often in addition to) Metformin, it's one of my ONLY options to help control my PCOS. In fact, it helps enough that even after getting a tubal ligation, insurance will cover the birth control pills, because they regulate my hormones in a way that nothing else can.

I've messed up taking them sometimes, and can literally tell in MANY ways when my body has it, and when it doesn't. I lost 30 pounds in a year after gaining for 4 despite all actions because of these pills.

So no, you can't just pull it. But maybe it should be reserved for women who actually require that particular ingredient as a medication for another issue aside from birth control.

Just some food for thought. :)

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

One of my friends was on Yaz and she is now suffering from very serious kidney issues. The medication she is now on will probably leave her sterile. Nice one Bayer, your birth control pills are so effective that they leave women unable to ever conceive.

There are a host of other options for birth control and other hormonal issues that are far less dangerous than this stuff and it should be pulled.

Mares... MaressaSB

Rana, I don't know your personal situation, but I also suffer from a PCOS-like condition, and have had doctors push Yaz on me for years. I was on it for several years, and yes, it "cleared up" several symptoms, because it binds androgens. But it's only a temporary band-aid, a mask. (Also, my hormones may be out of whack, but I didn't feel like myself on the pill.) What's a woman who relies on these pills for the anti-androgenic effects supposed to do if she wants to have kids? I believe it's better to use natural methods to get to the root of the problem, not just cover it up. You should check out a supplement called PCOS Blend by Vitanica... It's a great natural alternative to metformin and Yaz.  

RanaA... RanaAurora

I'll look it up, thanks Maressa! I agree that it's a temporary solution.

Freela Freela

Every birth control pill carries some level of risk- it's up to individuals to assess the risk to benefit ratio to see how they feel about pills.  That being said, it puzzles me that pills that have been proven to be less safe than equivalent products are still being broadly marketed... if we know there are safer alternatives, why do we hand out the riskier ones?  I'm a bc user, but declined Yaz when my doctor offered it, having read some of the previous studies.  There is no reason why I can't take an older pill... so why was the first pill offered to me one of the higher risk ones?

bills... billsfan1104

This is why I do not trust birth control. I also believe that because this is synthetic hormones in our bodies, that it cause breast cancer. My oncologist is doing a study on young women, to see if this is one of the reasons that there is such a spike in women younger and younger getting breast cancer.

Beths... Bethsunshine

I was off and on birth control pills for over 10 years. I stopped  taking Yaz because my neurologist told me that people who get migraines ( I've been getting them since I was 11) shouldn't take BCP because of an increased risk of stroke. The pills weren't helping me anyway, I had endometriosis and every month was a living hell and I didn't need to take them for birth control anyway, because I had had my tubes tied. Anytime you start messing with hormones, you have problems.  My gyne wanted to put me on Lupron because of all my issues, but I refused, because it basically shuts down your ovaries and has horrible side effects. I insisted on a partial hysterectomy last year, and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner! I'm now going through menopause, due to having my uterus removed and my ovaries shutting down, but I am not going on HRT. I'm opting for natural supplements instead, which are doing wonders for the hot flashes and night sweats.

Joyce Stafford

I loved YAZ, I was on it for a couple of years but when we switched from my husbands insurance carrier (who did cover it) to my insurance carrier (who didn't cover it) I had to switch to a different (cheaper) pill. I miss the YAZ, I had clear skin, my MASSIVE mood swings and killer PMS was calm and normal with YAZ, and I didn't gain any weight, and my sex drive was normal, my periods consisted of light bleeding for one day. Now whatever the crap is I'm taking now- totally different story. It sucks.

ArmyW... ArmyWifeAshlie

I took yaz for 2 years (16-18) and during that time I started experiencing severe chest pain, violent vomiting, black outs, and developed an arrhythmia. I haven't had much luck with any hormonal birth control (mood swings etc being bad) but yaz was the WORST for me. I think it should be taken off the market or at least not prescribed so often.

Char_... Char_gal4

I've always believed that the vast majority of government agencies (such as the FDA) are too buddy-buddy with corporate businesses, especially Big Pharma and Big Oil.  Plus, why are doctors still allowed to accept gifts from Big Pharma (who has the highest paid CEOs)?  Medical students were once given huge prizes if their medical studies were in favor of the company making the med.  Big name companies also are paying generic manufacturers to not produce cheaper meds.  It needs to STOP.

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