A flurry of new medical articles have come out in the past week regarding Yasmin and Yaz. Here are links and some “talking points.” Vlieg, et al. The venous thrombotic risk of oral contraceptives, effects of oestrogen dose and progestogen type: results of the MEGA case-control study, BMJ 2009;339:b2921.
- This Netherlands study found that all oral contraceptives increase the risk for venous thrombosis by about five times (this is not new news). However, it also found that drospirenone-based oral contraceptives had an increased risk of 6.3 times that of non-users.
- The study concluded that many women do not use the safest brands of birth control pills.
- The safest option for women (with regard to venous thrombosis) is a birth control pill that contains levonorgestrel, combined with a low dose of estrogen.
Lidegaard, et al. Hormonal contraception and risk of venous thromboembolism: national follow-up study. BMJ 2009;339:b2890.
- Drosperinone-containing birth control pills are associated with a higher risk of venous thrombosis than contraceptives containing levonorgestrel.
Yasmin and Yaz both contain the progestin drospirenone—the dangerous one cited in the studies. As a reminder, venous thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in the vein. If the clot breaks off, it can be transported through the circulatory system to the heart or lungs (becoming an embolism). These can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Bayer’s comment on the studies: they haven’t seen the data, and can’t comment. If you listen hard, you can almost hear them circling their wagons.
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