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Is Beyaz Worth the Risk?

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Chicago, ILWhen it comes to deciding whether or not to take a medication, some patients weigh the risk of side effects with the benefits of the drug. So in the case of choosing a birth control, some women might ask whether the risk of taking Beyaz birth control is worth the benefits. After all, Beyaz side effects reportedly include an increased risk of blood clots. But sometimes, patients do not know that there are other drugs on the market that are just as effective as the ones they are taking, but do not come with the same risks. In other cases, the patients just take the drug they are prescribed, without knowing anything about the potential side effects.

Beyaz is known as a fourth-generation birth control pill because it contains drospirenone, a synthetic version of progesterone. It is similar to Yasmin and Yaz - also fourth-generation birth control pills - but also has folate in its formulation. The issue with fourth-generation birth control pills - those containing drospirenone - is that some studies have linked them to an increased risk of blood clots.

Among those studies, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports, were studies that found as much as three times the risk of blood clots in drosperinone-containing birth control compared with other birth control and some studies that found no increased risk.

That increased risk is still relatively small. Women who are pregnant are also at an increased risk of blood clots, the FDA notes. But the issue is not only one of the actual risks and benefits to Beyaz itself, it’s that there are older birth control pills that are reportedly as effective as Beyaz but do not come with the same risk of blood clots. Meanwhile, a study funded by the FDA also found an increased risk of blood clots associated with fourth-generation birth control pills.

So why would the FDA leave fourth-generation birth control pills on the market, when there are safer drugs that are just as effective?

The FDA considered the issue of fourth-generation birth control when it considered removing Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Safryal from the market. But the FDA advisory panel voted 15 to 11 to keep the drugs on the market. The problem was that they considered whether the benefits of the drugs outweighed the risks, not whether the risks were acceptable compared with the risks of older birth control pills. According to summary minutes of the meeting, among the comments about fourth-generation birth control were concerns about decreasing the availability of effective contraception.

The panel did vote that the warning label at the time did not adequately warn about the risks, and the FDA updated the label for the drugs, noting that some studies indicated an increased risk of blood clots associated with drospirenone-containing birth control.

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