Thanks to those annoying commercials on television from a legal firm asking if you or someone you love has suffered from a blood clot, pulmonary embolism, or even …..(deep gasp) DEATH blah blah blah from using Yaz, my patients come into the office very concerned about taking birth control pills. I just love the media and how it blows everything out of proportion—sense the sarcastic tone.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to add Venous thromboembolism (VTE) to the warning label of all birth control pills that contains drospirenone, a synthetic progestin. Yaz, Yasmin, Safyral, and Beyaz are the oral contraceptive brands that will receive this new label. VTE are basically blood clots that can affect anyone of any race or gender (remember Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey’s husband, was hospitalized earlier this year for complications from blood clots). The new label is a result of a few studies showing that birth control containing drospirenone increases the risk of a woman having thrombotic events by 3-fold when compared to birth control containing another form of progestin such as levonorgestrel (of Mirena and Plan B fame).
The studies failed to take into consideration other factors that those woman ma have had that would also contribute to an increased risk of having a blood clot such as cardiovascular problems, obesity, present use of tobacco/nicotine, or an actual history of blood clots just to name a few.
Here’s something else to mull over: A woman’s chance of developing a blood clot is at least 4 times higher than usual when she’s pregnant. About 1 in 500 pregnancies are complicated by clotting issues and pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) are the number 1 cause of maternal death in the USA. The risk of clots is 5 times higher during the postpartum period than during pregnancy, and the risk of pulmonary embolism is 15 times higher. So the question you must ask yourself is, “Am I willing to risk getting pregnant and increasing my chance of clotting more than ever or just take a pill that’s perfectly safe?” The choice is yours. Be wise.
Keep in mind that all combined oral contraceptive pills, meaning they have both estrogen and progestin, carries an increased risk for blood clots. If Yaz and it’s counterparts weren’t safe for women to take the FDA would have pulled them off the market by now.
You must weigh the risks vs benefits with your healthcare provider when deciding which pill is best for you. If you are that concerned about getting a blood clot, switch to a different brand of pill, or better yet get a Mirena! There are plenty of options. I promise it’s not the end of the world or as big a deal as the media is making it out to be.
Take home message: Yaz, Beyaz, and Safyral are completely safe as contraception. No need to worry unless you have alarming risk factors for blood clots.
Remember ladies, keep a healthy demeanor, both inside and out.