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Teen Takes Yasmin for Acne, Winds Up with Pulmonary Embolisms

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Olympia, WARose is still angry, both with the ER doctors and with Bayer, the maker of Yasmin, and rightly so. Her daughter almost died, and from the time she was admitted to the hospital, it took six months to figure out Yasmin caused the near fatal pulmonary embolisms in both her lungs. Yes, she was still taking Yasmin in hospital…

About five years ago Rose's daughter Lacy—16 at the time—started taking Yasmin to treat acne.

"I was driving school bus when Lacy called me, complaining of dizziness," says Rose. "There was nothing I could do so I told her to call 911 and the medics rushed her to ER. They didn't find anything—they didn't do anything either—and just sent her home. Nobody asked her if she was on any medications."

Lacy kept getting dizzy to the point of passing out, but she ignored it because the hospital said that nothing was wrong. As well, Lacy was an athlete, she was one tough cookie. And she kept taking Yasmin.

"The day it happened still totally amazes me; I could almost die just thinking about it," says Rose.

"Lacy came home from baseball practice and told me she couldn't breathe, her ribs were hurting. It was a Saturday so I took her to our local walk-in clinic. They said it was likely a pulled muscle and sent her home, without even an x-ray or a blood test. Nothing!

"Lacy went downstairs to rest but after a few hours came upstairs and said, 'Mom, something is wrong, I can barely breathe.' I drove her to ER and then we sat in that waiting room for six hours.

"Right after they took her blood and x-ray the doctor came out to see me; she was white as a ghost, with a shocked look on her face. She told me to sit down and said that my daughter had pulmonary embolisms in her lungs and then she said it was a wonder how Lacy sat in ER for so long. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 meaning you're dead), Lacy was rated 8.5.

"My daughter played sports all her life and she is a very tough girl, but she was in so much pain. I felt so horrible because I thought she just had pulled muscles too, believing the doctors. She was admitted, put on blood thinners and not allowed to move. She had to give herself those coumadin shots. The doctors said that if Lacy wasn't such a fighter, she would have died. It wasn't until after she was admitted when someone asked what meds she was taking. She told them about the Yasmin, it was the only drug she was on, but no one told her to stop taking the birth control pill.

"She spent a week in hospital and was sent to University Hospital in Seattle two months later; they wanted to study her because they couldn't understand how this could have happened to a young athlete. And she was still taking Yasmin!

"It wasn't until the studies (to determine that the blood clots weren't genetically related) came back—four months later—that a doctor told her to stop taking Yasmin."

The doctors only found out that Yasmin was the culprit by a process of elimination. It wasn't in the family, Lacy didn't smoke, she was young and healthy. She was an athlete! As it turns out, the hospital doctors told Rose they were also studying three other young women who had all suffered a pulmonary embolism—still they didn't connect the dots. It took another few months to tell Rose that her daughter could never take any kind of hormone medication ever again.

To this day, Rose can't understand why the drug company, Bayer, didn't inform the doctors of Yasmin's serious and life-threatening side effects, including pulmonary embolism.

"I am angry with the maker of Yasmin because someone should have said something to someone," says Rose. "As soon as they saw Lacy, they should have clued in right away—finding out she was on birth control pills should have raised the red light; she should have gotten a blood test at the very least.

"The x-ray showed the pulmonary embolisms clearly—one of her lungs was full of blood clots and the other lung was half full. No wonder she couldn't breathe and why she was in so much pain. And no one took a blood test when she complained of dizziness one month prior to being admitted. She could have dropped dead at any second.

"I felt horrible because I didn't take it seriously at the time, I should have done more. Now I have the chance to do something for Lacy and get involved in a Yasmin lawsuit."


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