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Mother of Dead Teen Alleges Yaz Side Effects in Daughter's Death

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Elon, NCThe is not a story about Yasmin birth control. But then again, it could be due to the close relationship between Yaz and Yasmin, both manufactured by Bayer. The oral contraceptives are part of a more recent class of contraceptives, and while not identical, are similar. They also both contain warning labels for blood clots as mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Yaz has been particularly popular due to a side benefit for acne control—although the manufacturer is quick to point out that acne should not be the sole reason for prescribing Yaz birth control pills.

Be that as it may, an 18-year-old woman from Independence Township in Pennsylvania is no longer alive today. According to the October 31st edition of the Eastern Express Times, Michelle A. Pfleger was walking to a morning class September 24th at Elon University when the freshman collapsed. She was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.

The cause of death as determined by the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was a pulmonary thromboemboli—otherwise known as an obstruction of a blood vessel in the lung.

In other words, a blood clot—one of the adverse reactions among the listed Yaz side effects.

Michelle's mother, Joan Cummins, is of the view that there was more to her daughter's death than thrombosis. Cummins said in an interview that while her daughter was treated with an analgesic for a knee injury the day before she died, "there's just really no reason that a healthy young woman who has a knee injury would have developed this."

Cummins notes that her daughter was healthy and believes her use of Yaz birth control pills contributed to Michelle's death. The medical examiner assigned to her case noted the knee injury, but did not link the injury or the treatment thereof to the girl's death.

Yaz blood clots were not mentioned.

Dr. Alberto Estrada, the director of the vascular lab in Phillipsburg's Warren Hospital, told the Eastern Express Times that a healthy 18-year-old's death from pulmonary thromboemboli is very unusual. Given the fact that many people take oral contraceptives with no side effects, Estrada suggests that oral contraceptives [such as Yasmin and Yaz] may not be the direct cause of a death, but could be a contributing factor under specific conditions.

For its part, Bayer stands behind its product. A Bayer representative, Rosemarie Yancosek, spoke of Bayer's commitment to safety as a top priority. As for the warning label mandated by the FDA in April, Bayer maintains that Yaz and Yasmin are no worse than other oral contraceptives. "The updated labels confirm that the body of evidence continues to support," noted a statement issued by Bayer in April, "that the relative risk of developing venous thromboembolism in Yaz and Yasmin users is comparable to that of other oral contraceptive preparations."

Cummins intends to sue the manufacturer of Yaz, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., over the Yaz blood clots that allegedly contributed to her daughter's death.

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READER COMMENTS

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Why is this drug still on the market??? I have two friends, one in New York and one in Vermont who lost their daughters due to a blood clot which occurred while taking Yaz.

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