Canadian Women File Yaz, Yasmin Lawsuit

Yaz and Yasmin have been named in a lawsuit filed by a group of Canadian women. According to Canadian media reports, the plaintiffs allege that they were not adequately warned about higher than usual risks for stroke and other side effects of Yaz and Yasmin.

Yaz and Yasmin are both made with a type of progestin called drospirenone, making them different from many other oral contraceptives. Drospirenone can elevate the body’s potassium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia in certain patients. Hyperkalemia may result in potentially serious heart and health problems. Adverse Events reported to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) involving Yaz and Yasmin include heart arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalance, hyponatremis, hyperkalemia, hyperkalemic arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, bradycardia, myocardial infarction, stroke, transient ischemic attack, blood clots, embolisms, and sudden death.

Yasmin and Yaz were approved by Health Canada in 2004 and 2008 respectively, and more than 2 million prescriptions were written for the drugs in Canada last year. According to a report on CTV news, Yaz and Yasmin have been heavily promoted as a contraceptive in Canada that can also help control acne as well as the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

The Canadian lawsuit’s statement of claim alleges that Bayer failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about the increased risk of serious adverse injuries associated with use of Yasmin and Yaz as compared to safer oral contraceptives.

In the U.S., hundreds of Yaz lawsuits were filed by women around the country who claim the medications caused them to suffer blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, gallbladder disease and other health problems. On October 1, 2009, all lawsuits involving Yaz and Yasmin currently pending in federal courts were consolidated for centralized and coordinated pre-trial proceedings in the Yasmin and Yaz (Drospirenone) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois before Judge David R. Herndon (MDL No. 2100). In December, Judge Herndon discussed scheduling a series of “bellwether” trials for the lawsuits, which will serve as a guideline for other cases.

Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits pending in Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts have also been consolidated.

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