Thursday, December 8, 2011

What is the deal with Yaz and Yasmin?


Two popular birth control pills have been making headlines recently - Yaz and Yasmin. Touted for their ability to have lower side effects than other birth controls and ability to help curb PMS symptoms and acne, Yaz and Yasmin have drospirenone, a synthetic form of progesterone (progesterin). Drospirenone is one  of several different types of progestins that are used in birth control.


So what is all the hoopla about? As many of you know, ALL birth control pills come with an increased risk of causing blood clots. This risk is higher if you smoke. In specific medical terms, what you are more at risk for is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where a blood clot forms inside a vein and then can travel throughout your body (this is bad if it gets into your lungs or your heart or your brain).

Recently, several studies have found that Yaz and Yasmin put women at a higher risk of blood clots compared to other birth controls. In particular, one study of 835,000 women (which is A LOT of women) commissioned by the FDA found a TWO-fold increase in blood clots in women using Yaz and Yasmin. Yesterday, the FDA had a huge meeting and after hours and hours of debate, finally decided to keep Yaz and Yasmin on the market, by a narrow vote, stating that the benefits of these birth control pills outweigh the risk.

While I am not going to discount the FDA, since clearly they have had a much closer look at the data, for those of you on these two birth controls, make sure you become better informed about them. Perhaps give a shout out to your lady parts doctor and discuss these findings and possible alternative birth control pills. Every medication has benefits and risk associated with it, but is important that you understand what those pros and cons are and make your own informed decision.


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