What are Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella®?
Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella® are comparatively new prescription birth control pills manufactured and marketed by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved Yasmin® in 2001 and then approved its similar sister, Yaz® in 2006.
Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella® contain nearly the same active ingredients: ethinyl estradiol, an estrogen component and drospirenone, a progestin. Specifically, what makes Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella® different from many other birth control pills is their progestin ingredient: drospirenone is a fourth generation progestin that previously was never used in birth control pills sold in the U.S.
What are the side effects of birth control drugs?
Since the 1960s, doctors and researchers have found that women taking estrogen, the basic ingredient in birth control pills, increased their risk of developing blood clots.
Blood clots in coronary arteries can cause heart attacks. Blood clots in the legs can cause pain, break off and travel to the lungs where they can cause potentially fatal blood clots in the lungs called pulmonary emboli. Blood clots traveling to the brain can cause strokes, and deaths. If the blood clots go undetected or untreated, they can be lethal.
Drospirenone, the progestin component in Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella®, is a diuretic– these are any drug or natural aid that promote the formation of urine and excretion of water from the body. It can also contribute to heart rhythm disturbances, increased blood potassium levels called hyperkaelemia, and can cause sudden death.
Why are Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella® causing these injuries?
Complaints filed by Lieff Cabraser clients against the manufacturers of Yaz®, Yasmin®, and Ocella® allege that drospirenone, when combined with estrogen, has adverse effects that are more dangerous than earlier generations of oral contraceptives.
In April 2011, two medical studies were published finding that women who took birth control pills with drospirenone, including Yasmin® and Yaz®, have a higher risk for developing potentially serious blood clots than women who took oral contraceptives without drospirenone. In one study, there was a three-fold greater risk of blood clots.
The FDA also funded a study published in October 2011 which found that patients who took Yaz® and other drospirenone-containing birth control pills were 74% more likely to suffer from blood clots compared to women who took older birth control pills not containing drospirenone.
What actions has the FDA taken this year concerning the safety of Yaz®, Yasmin® and Ocella®?
In April, 2012, the FDA announced that Yaz® birth control pills, and other newer generation birth control pills containing the synthetic hormone drospirenone, must be sold with updated warning labels. The new warning labels will disclose that some studies indicate patients taking birth control with the synthetic hormone drospirenone have up to a three-fold increase in the risk of developing blood clots compared to patients taking birth control pills with no drospirenone.
I believe I suffered an injury due to taking Yaz®, Yasmin®, or Ocella®. How quickly must I hire an attorney?
If you or a loved one were just injured, you should not feel pressured to make an immediate decision about hiring counsel. Focusing on restoring your health or mourning the loss of loved ones should take precedence over liability issues at this difficult time.
However, keep in mind that each state imposes a deadline for filing lawsuits. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations, which in certain states is one year from the date of the accident. There might also be other deadlines imposed by state law that may require action sooner than one year.
What are my legal rights after an injury?
In most states, an injured person may file a case for negligence, failure to warn of known dangers, design defects, and other legal claims for compensation. In wrongful death cases, most states provide that the decedent’s spouse and children are entitled to sue for damages. If there is no spouse, then a child (or guardian of a child) may sue. If there is neither a spouse nor child, then the decedent’s parents are entitled to sue. After the parents, siblings are next in line under the law.