Birth control pills are a popular form of contraceptive. Although all birth control pills are associated with some risk, two in particular, Yaz and Yasmin, attract a lot of negative attention. This negative attention focuses heavily on one aspect: a higher risk of developing blood clots.
Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company responsible for producing Yaz and Yasmin, has been in the public eye in the past for lawsuit settlements concerning blood clots. These pills have continued to be a topic of discussion as many people believe that Yaz and Yasmin are involved in the recent deaths of users. The video below by The National illustrates this point:
As a result of these events, Bayer has been instructed to better communicate the potential risk of taking these pills by adding a blood clot warning to the label.
Yaz and Yasmin are known as combination drugs, combining a synthetic hormone known by the name of drospirenone with an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. Each pill has 0.3 mg of drospirenone, Yaz has 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol whereas Yasmin has 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol. Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol are both thought to increase the risk of developing a blood clot, however a recent study on hypertensive women suggests otherwise.
Tercio Lemos de Morais and his team of researchers compared blood pressure measurements taken before introducing the contraceptive as well as after using the contraceptive for 6 months. They concluded that a contraceptive containing 3 mg of drospirenone and 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol, which is the case with Yaz, causes no significant or abnormal changes in blood pressure. Note that if blood pressure were to increase the chance of developing a blood clot would also increase.
This brings about the question: Does increasing the dosage of ethinyl estradiol by 0.01 mg, as in Yasmin, cause a greater risk of blood clots? An older study claims that this is not the case. Kelly S. Parsey and Annpey Pong demonstrated that in addition to Yasmin being an effective contraceptive, as compared to other low-does oral contraceptives, Yasmin did not have a significant effect on weight, lipids and most importantly, blood pressure. They concluded that Yasmin is a safe and effective oral contraceptive. Furthermore, a more recent study about Yasmin described how women taking Yasmin reported physical and emotional well-being improvement, as well as improved skin conditions such as decreases in acne.
After going through the findings of these articles I believe it is acceptable for healthy women to take or continue taking either Yaz or Yasmin. There is a vast amount of easily accessible information regarding Yaz and Yasmin to the public, however it is important to remember one thing – we are not all doctors! It is always best to discuss the implications of taking new or different medications, whether that be Yaz, Yasmin, or something else, with your doctor first.
– Rajpreet Gill