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Health Canada to Review Drospirenone Birth Control Side Effects

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June 8, 2011 – Amidst new information linking drospirenone to an increased risk of blood clots, Canadian health officials have announced that they are now investigating the side effects of the controversial hormone, which is found in many best-selling contraceptives. The move comes just one week after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced a similar review of the popular birth control products. Drugs containing drospirenone include YAZ, Yasmin, Ocella, Beyaz, Syeda, Zarah, Gianvi and Loryna.

What’s the problem?

In the recent announcement, Health Canada indicated that their safety review of drospirenone will be aimed at identifying the risk of blood clots associated with Yaz and Yasmin, the only forms of birth control sold in Canada that contain the hormone in question. In the United States, however, a number of other drospirenone-containing medications are available on the market including:

  • Ocella
  • Beyaz
  • Syeda
  • Zarah
  • Gianvi
  • Loryna

Health Canada’s decision to investigate drospirenone comes just a week after the FDA made a similar announcement, and less than a month after European officials determined that the side effects of the hormone increased the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) when compared to similar medications containing levonorgestrel. The new safety reviews come on the heels of two independent scholarly studies recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which concluded that women taking drospirenone-containing birth control products were more than twice as likely to experience a blood clot than women taking contraceptives containing levonorgestrel.

Nationwide, drugmakers face thousands of lawsuits alleging that the companies failed to adequately warn the public about the increased risk of health problems associated drospirenone. The claims have been filed by women who have allegedly suffered from blood clots and other serious injuries after using drospirenone birth control pills.

Side Effects of Drospirenone

Drospirenone is a type of female sex hormone called a progestin that is used in combination with estrogen as a contraceptive. Birth control products in this class work by changing the lining of the uterus and preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Unfortunately, drospirenone has been increasingly linked to side effects including (but not limited to):

  • Blood Clots
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Stroke
  • Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVA)
  • Heart Attack
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Gallbladder Disease / Injury (cholecystitis)
  • Gallbladder Removal (cholecystectomy)
  • Death

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