Some 24 women have allegedly died over complications associated with Bayer’s birth control pills, Yaz and Yasmin.
The 24 Canadian women died from what has been described as an adverse reaction to Yaz and Yasmin, said health authorities, according to documents that CBC News obtained, Salon wrote. Most of the women died from blood clots, a known hormonal birth control side effect; however, the numbers seen with Yaz and Yasmin are higher than in so-called “older generation” birth control pills.
As we’ve explained, both Yaz and Yasmin contain a combination of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Drospirenone is a type of synthetic progestin that had not been used in oral contraceptives prior to the approval of Yasmin. Drospirenone can cause a spike in the blood’s potassium levels; this increase can lead to hyperkalemia, which can result in cardiac arrest. Drospirenone contraceptives have also been linked to a higher risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Eight of the Yasmin deaths involved women and girls who were under 20 years of age. In fact, two were just 14 years old, noted Salon.
A 2011 Health Canada review revealed that Yaz and Yasmin were associated with a three-fold risk of blood clots when compared to other oral contraceptives, according to Salon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that drospirenone-containing contraceptives increase the risk of developing a blood clot by 74 percent.
Meanwhile, we recently wrote that the largest health insurer in Switzerland—CSS—said that it was supporting a woman’s claim against Bayer and Yasmin. CSS said it supported its client and her claim against Bayer and would serve as a joint plaintiff in the lawsuit against Bayer; CSS is demanding that Bayer cover medical costs, said Reuters previously. Swiss media reported that the woman suffered from a serious pulmonary embolism that left her significantly disabled just a few weeks after being prescribed Yasmin. Her medical treatment, as of CSS’s announcement, cost some 600,000 Swiss francs ($648,600), according to reports. In France some types of prescription costs related to the drug will no longer be made following a lawsuit against Bayer there.
Generally, lawsuits allege that Bayer failed to warn of the serious risks associated with Yaz and Yasmin, including: Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, heart attack, strokes, and gallbladder disease. Bayer has agreed to pay a total of $750 million to settle 3,490 legal claims in the U.S. over Yasmin and allegations of blood clots; similar injuries are alleged in another 3,800 cases pending in the U.S.
Last summer, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that combined hormonal birth control methods, such as Yaz and Yasmin, were associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, compared to other types of hormonal contraceptives. And, last April, the FDA announced that the labels for Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone birth control pills would be updated to provide stronger information regarding their blood clot risks after some studies indicated that these contraceptives were associated with as high as a three-fold increase in the risk of serious blood clots, including pulmonary embolism and DVT.