Sabine was only 29 years old when she suffered a stroke—two years ago. "Just one week after taking Yaz I went back to my doctor because I felt so sick," Sabine explains, "but he told me to stay on it and I would feel better." Unfortunately, she would feel worse—a lot worse. Just a few days before Thanksgiving, Sabine was at work when she got double vision and passed out. "I was rushed to hospital by ambulance and right away the doctors assumed I had a stroke, but I also had several MRIs because they didn't want to rule out the possibility of a brain tumor—I was scared.
"I remember that I couldn't speak properly and I was mostly crying because I couldn't answer their questions. And I was so weak. Of course they asked what meds I was on and I completely forgot to tell them that I was taking Yaz." Given Sabine's situation, that would be completely understandable. And why would it even occur to her that a birth control pill could be associated with stroke? But Yasmin and Yaz, (and lately Safyral)—all "fourth generation" birth control pills, and all made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals—contain drospirenone, which has been associated with an increase in the risk of serious conditions including blood clots, stroke and heart attack.
During her time in the hospital, Sabine had a battery of tests and had visits from several neurologists, trying to determine if indeed she did suffer a stroke. "When I finally told one neurologist that I was taking Yaz, she said, 'Well that makes sense and explains a lot—and you are lucky to be alive.' I was absolutely shocked and surprised that my birth control pill put me in hospital and worse, could have killed me!
"On the one hand I was also angry, but on the other hand I was relieved (and my family was so relieved) when they associated Yaz with the stroke because I think I am over it now—and I don't have to wonder what caused it. I re-read the warning label about the possibility of 'serious side effects' if you smoke or over the age of 35, but I don't smoke and I had a stroke at 29 years old! And my doctor didn't mention any side effects…"
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Although Sabine was in the hospital for only a short time and believes the worst is behind her, two years on she has regular check-ups and follow-ups with her doctor and neurologist. "My left side is numb sometimes but other than that I am healthy," she says. "I am not allowed to take anything that contains hormones for the rest of my life. And I have to take baby aspirins to thin my blood so I don't get blood clots."
While Sabine is relieved in the knowledge that Yaz is likely to blame, her stroke has caused lifelong effects, for which she should receive compensation.