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Concerns Raised About Fourth-Generation Birth Control

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Toronto, CanadaCanadian health authorities have reportedly linked Yasmin and Yaz birth control - similar to Beyaz birth control - to 23 deaths. Although the data does not involve side effects of Beyaz, Beyaz is similar to Yasmin and Yaz and could potentially carry similar risks. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued a warning about Beyaz side effects.

Beyaz is remarkably similar to other fourth-generation birth control pills in that it contains drospirenone and estrogen/progestin in similar doses. The main difference is that Beyaz also includes folic acid. Fourth-generation oral contraceptives are those that contain drosperinone, a synthetic version of progestin/progesterone. In April 2012, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication about drospirenone-containing birth control, noting that such birth control may be linked to a higher risk of blood clots than other birth control that contained progestin.

The FDA’s announcement was based on a review of epidemiologic studies that analyzed the risk of blood clots in women who took drospirenone-containing birth control. At the time, the FDA noted that the label for Beyaz, as well as other fourth-generation birth control pills, would be updated to include information that the risk of blood clots reported in some studies was as high as three times that over other birth control products. Other studies did not find such a risk.

Information obtained from Health Canada by CBC News (6/11/13) suggested that certain fourth-generation birth control pills were linked to at least 23 deaths. The Health Canada data concerned Yasmin or Yaz, not Beyaz, because Beyaz is not available in Canada. Specifically, CBC reports that Health Canada received reports of approximately 600 adverse reactions linked to Yasmin or Yaz between 2007 and February 28, 2013. Fifteen deaths were attributed to Yasmin and eight to Yaz. The youngest death involved a 14-year-old.

Because Beyaz has similar formulations to other fourth-generation birth control, it is possible that it would have a similar risk of blood clots and death. Lawsuits have been filed in Canada and the US against Bayer, maker of Yaz, Yasmin and Beyaz, alleging the birth control products caused harm to patients.


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