August 10, 2012 – According to the results of a study released earlier this year, the use of Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills can increase the risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition to IBS, drospirenone-based contraceptives have been linked to blood clots, heart attacks, gallbladder disease, kidney failure and death. Signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome may include severe abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and mucus in the stool.
What’s the problem?
The study, which was released in February by researchers at the University of British Columbia, found that the use of any combination oral contraceptive (COC) containing the active ingredient drospirenone greatly increases the likelihood of developing irritable bowel syndrome.
The British Columbia study involved a cohort of 939,281 female test subjects around the age of 30 who had been on a regimen of drospirenone for an average of 247 days. The incidence of IBS with drospirenone birth control pills (1083 cases) was an astounding 224% higher than patients treated with levonorgestrel (483 cases), another synthetic hormone found in many older forms of birth control.
Unfortunately, irritable bowel syndrome is hardly the only serious side effect to be linked to drospirenone in recent years. In November 2011, a study published by the Canadian Medical Association found that the side effects of drospirenone contraceptives significantly increase the risk of users developing potentially life-threatening blood clots over other forms of birth control. The study involved a cohort of more than 300,000 Israeli women, and found that drospirenone-containing birth control products increased the risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clot that blocks an artery in the lungs) by as much as 65% over women taking levonorgestrel and other so-called ‘second generation’ oral contraceptives.
A month earlier, the FDA released a drug safety communication which stated that Yaz and Yasmin increased the blood clot risk by up to 75% compared to older forms of birth control. Previous research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that women who take drospirenone may face twice the risk of developing blood clots compared to women who take levonorgestrel.
Taken together, the results of these studies appear to support complaints raised in hundreds of Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits filed around the country on behalf of women who allegedly experienced serious and sometimes fatal blood clots after taking the drugs. The lawsuits claim that Bayer failed to adequately warn the public about the risk of serious side effects, placing their desire for profits above patient safety.