A team of medical researchers led by Kaiser Permanente Northern California report that women taking birth control pills containing drospirenone are at a sharply increased risk of blood clots and blockage of arteries. The study appears in the January 2013 issue of the journal Contraception.
Newer oral contraceptives, including Yaz, Yasmin and the generic Ocella that are widely prescribed, contain drospirenone, a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone. But many women have experienced serious side effects, including blood clots, acute respiratory distress and strokes, after taking these newer oral contraceptives.
The researchers analyzed the health records of more than 570,000 women who started using any of three types of new combined hormonal contraceptives: drospirenone-containing pills, norelgestromin transdermal patches, and vaginal rings containing etonogestrel. All three types of combined hormonal contraceptives have received FDA approval in the last decade.
The researchers found that women ages 10 to 34 who started taking contraceptives containing drospirenone were at a 77 percent increased risk of deep vein blood clots, also known as venous thromboembolisms. These clots commonly develop in the legs or pelvic veins. Because blood in the leg veins flows to the heart and then to the lungs, blood clots originating in the legs can cause sudden blockages of arteries in the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism.
They found that women in the 35 to 55 age group taking birth control pills with drospirenone were twice as likely to be hospitalized for artery blockages as women taking low-dose estrogen contraceptives.
Far more women use the drospirenone-containing birth control pills such as Yaz and Ocella than the transdermal patch or vaginal ring for birth control. The research was funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has previously indicated that drospirenone-containing birth control pills may be associated with a higher risk of blood clots.
Women who have been harmed by side effects of an unsafe birth control pill may have legal rights to demand compensation from the drug manufacturers who made the pills. Many have already received settlements.
As an attorney committed to protecting women’s health, I am investigating claims of women who have suffered serious side effects from Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella. The Driscoll Firm, LLC, has helped thousands of people harmed by unsafe drugs and defective products to receive the compensation they deserve.