The birth control medication known as Yaz or Yasmin has many potential side effects. The FDA has extensively documented Yaz’s dangers and side effects. Its side effects range from less severe ones, such as nausea, to strokes and cardiovascular emergencies. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of Yaz has sometimes minimized these risks in online and television advertisements,1,2 so not everyone who seeks out a prescription may be aware of the dangers of this medication. If your doctor does not discuss the risks adequately, you may experience serious health problems. The FDA has cautioned doctors about the multiple risks associated with Yaz. Both doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are required to communicate these risks to patients who may receive Yaz prescriptions.
Side effects of Yaz
Yaz can affect multiple systems and organs within the body3 such as:
- Veins and arteries. Yaz can increase your risk of developing blood clots, which block blood vessels. It can also cause serious conditions such as destruction of heart tissue through loss of blood flow and strokes. The medication can damage the vein that leads to your retina by causing blood clots. This can lead to loss of vision and other eye problems.
- Blood. Yaz can increase the level of potassium in your blood. This concern is particularly important for women with preexisting kidney, liver, and adrenal gland problems. It can also increase your blood pressure.
- Breasts and reproductive organs. Yaz may cause breast cancer to reoccur. It causes irregular menstrual bleeding in some patients. It may also contribute to reproductive cancers, but researchers are not sure of these effects. It can also cause breast tenderness and can interfere with a woman's ability to breast-feed.
- Liver. Yaz has many potential effects on the liver, some of which can be fatal. The medication can cause benign tumors, which can rupture and cause death. It can also cause liver cancer and disrupt the flow of bile.
- Gallbladder. Taking Yaz can increase your chance of gallbladder disease.
- Head. Yaz can cause you to have more headaches and migraines.
- Hormones. Yaz can alter the way your body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates. This is especially important to monitor if you have diabetes or difficulty digesting fats and oils.
- Pancreas. Yaz can cause pancreatitis in women whose families tend to have high triglyceride levels. If this applies to you, you should discuss the situation with your doctor.
- Nervous system. If you have a history of depression, Yaz can cause it to return. It can also cause moodiness, fatigue, and irritability.
- Digestive system. Yaz can cause nausea or vomiting. This is a fairly common side effect.
Potential drug interactions
Yaz also interacts with multiple classes of drugs.3 For example:
- Enzyme-inducing drugs, many of which are used for mental health treatment, can make Yaz less effective.
- Some medications, including vitamin C and acetaminophen, can increase the effect of Yaz.
- HIV and hepatitis medications interact with Yaz and can alter hormone levels.
- Yaz can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone in your body if you are being treated for low thyroid hormone levels.
- Yaz reduces the effectiveness of the mood stabilizer lamotrigine.
Given the many risks associated with Yaz, some of which are very severe, it is important to be an informed consumer if you are considering using this product. Both doctors and patients should be cautious about potential side effects and be prepared to discontinue the medication if necessary. Although some of these effects are rare, there are still many concerns about this medication. Side effects may occur early or later while you are taking the medication.
Many lawsuits have already taken place relating to Yaz/Yasmin. If you are concerned about your own use of this product, talk with your doctor and contact a lawyer if necessary.