Danish Study Examines Risk of Stroke with Yaz Birth Control
A new study recently added more evidence to the growing research on Yaz side effects. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 14, 2012, it details the results of a 15-year analysis on 1.6 million non-pregnant women, 15–49 years old. The results showed that though the overall risk of Yaz stroke is low, those taking combined hormonal birth control pills like Yaz and Yasmin, which contain the progestin “drospirenone,” face a higher risk of stroke than those not using hormonal contraception.
These results add to the evidence released from an FDA study in October 2011, which suggested an approximately 1.5-fold increase in the risk of blood clots and related complications for women who use drospirenone-containing pills compared to users of other hormonal contraceptives. Many women who have been injured by these pills have filed a Yaz lawsuit to hold manufacturer Bayer liable.
Study illustrates risk of Yaz stoke
Danish researchers examined historical data for a total of 1,626,158 women. During the study period, 3,311 suffered thrombotic strokes, and 1,725 suffered heart attacks. As compared with using no birth control at all, those using combination estrogen and progestin oral contraceptives like Yaz and Yasmin were up to twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. The risk was 2.5 to 3 times higher among users of vaginal rings and transdermal patches compared to non-users.
The researchers pointed out that blood clots and related complications increase dramatically with increasing age. The baseline risk of a Yaz stroke at age 20, for example, is quite low, so double that risk is still low. Baseline risk at 35 years and older, however, is higher, so double that risk can be more significant.
A Yaz side effects lawsuit likely to blame Bayer for inadequate warnings
The FDA approved Yasmin in 2001, and Yaz in 2006. One large-scale study in Europe, sponsored by Bayer and completed in 2005, reported no difference in the risk of cardiovascular problems or death in women taking drospirenone-containing pills compared to women taking older birth control pills containing levonorgestrel, a progestin that has been used since the 1970s.
Two other studies, however, showed different results. Both were published in the British Medical Journal in 2009, and both found a higher risk of side effects like Yaz blood clots for women taking newer progestins, including drospirenone.
Over 10,000 women have filed a lawsuit in the U.S., alleging injuries like Yaz pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (Yaz DVT), and stroke. According to these women, Bayer did not provide adequate warnings to the public or to physicians concerning the risks. In April 2012, the FDA announced it was requiring manufacturers to update labels for drospirenone-containing products to warn that they may be linked to a higher risk of blood clots.
In the meantime, Bayer has begun settlement negotiations with women who have filed a lawsuit alleging blood clot injuries from Yaz.