Home » News» Medical Loading… Published: 6/11/2012 – Updated: 5 days ago HEALTH & SCIENCE BY RONEISHA MULLENBLADE STAFF WRITER
Rhonesha Maston had tried everything to ease the pain of her menstrual cramps. Over-the-counter drugs, heating pads, and more. Nothing seemed to work.
“I was a junior in high school and it was bad,” said Ms. Maston, now 20 and a student at the University of Toledo. “I started taking birth control to help control it. My doctor gave me YAZ.”
One of the top-selling birth control pills in the United States, YAZ and its sister drug, Yasmin, had worldwide sales of about $1.8 billion in 2008. Marketed as a quality-of-life treatment to combat acne and severe premenstrual depression, YAZ and Yasmin have been the go-to brand of birth control for women 35 and younger.
But recent concerns of increased risk of serious health ramifications has clouded the line’s image. Researchers say the drugs put women at higher risk for blood clots, strokes, and other health problems than some other birth control pills.
The concerns prompted the Food and Drug Administration in April to order that the brands carry revised labels indicating the increased risk.
All birth control pills come with risk, including nausea, weight gain, and depression. and with most pills, about two to four out of 10,000 patients will experience blood clots. with YAZ and Yasmin some studies say the risk is two to three times greater.
While the increased risk is slight, it shouldn’t be ignored. Blood clots can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blockages, which can be fatal.
Tips on taking the pill
- Tell your doctor about that headache. the pill can pose risks for women who suffer from chronic headaches.
- Let your doctor know if you smoke, have a specific diet (such as for diabetes or vegetarianism), take illegal drugs, or are taking medications. many medicines can affect birth control pills’ abilities to prevent pregnancy. your doctor needs to know to prescribe the safest birth control for your health.
As of February, there were more than 11,000 pending lawsuits against Bayer filed on behalf of women alleged to have suffered personal injuries — some of them fatal — from the use of contraceptives in the YAZ line, including two generic versions, according to Bayer’s annual report. the company has reached settlements with about 70 patients and expected more lawsuits, the report stated.
Despite the risks, doctors say the drug is still safe and effective.
“Just like any other medication, you have to use it carefully and responsibly,” said Kim Confer-Seeley, an obstetrician and gynecologist with ProMedica Physicians. “I have plenty of patients on it. for most people, the benefits outweigh the risk.”
Jackie Mayer of Sandusky had been on birth-control pills for one month and five days when she had a near-fatal stroke in 1970. she had ended her reign as Miss America 1963 just seven years earlier.
“At the time, there was no warning about the risks,” Ms. Mayer said in a phone interview. “I had been on the pill before and nothing happened. I’d just had a baby. My daughter was 9 months old when I started on a different brand. It left me paralyzed on my right side,” Ms. Mayer said of the pills, which were not from the YAZ line.
Since her stroke, Ms. Mayer has become an inspirational speaker and spokesman for stroke prevention and awareness. she speaks out against the pill.
“There has to be some other way. IUDs or [abstaining from sex] when you’re ovulating. “It’s a devastating thing that death and stroke are still caused by the pill.”
Ms. Maston is well aware of the risk associated with the oral contraceptive she took consistently for four years. she only stopped taking the pill after she lost her health insurance.
“I never had any problems. Something could’ve happened but it didn’t,” said Ms. Maston, a social work senior at UT. “Everything is different depending on the person and their body. Some people smoke cigarettes their whole life. Some people get cancer, some don’t.”
Contact RoNeisha Mullen at or 419-724-6133.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. if a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor’s agreement, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. to post comments, you must be a Facebook member. to find out more, please visit the FAQ.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.