Yasmin is a drospirenone drug used as an oral contraceptive. It also contains ethinyl estradiol. Its production started in 2001. It was the first oral contraceptive which used drospirenone, which is classified as a “fourth generation” synthetic progestin. In 2006 Bayer marketed a nearly identical drug called Yaz. Yaz contains 3mg of drospirenone and 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol per tablet, where as Yasmin contains 3 mg of drospirenone and 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol per tablet. Generic versions of these drugs are also available in the market.

Both these medicines produce side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and weight gain, which were common in most contraceptives. But clinical trials have identified other, more severe side effects. It has been revealed that drospirenone when combined with ethinyl estradiol can causes a large increase in potassium levels in the blood. It can lead to hyperkalemia resulting in heart attacks and other severe health problems. Both these drugs contain drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol.

It is also said that gallbladder disease can develop in women who have taken Yaz or Yasmin. It can cause formation of gallstones. Women over the age of 35, women who smoke, and women with a history of health complications are at higher risk of developing side effects with the use of Yaz or Yasmin.

Side Effects of Yaz-Yasmin

Use of Yaz-Yasmin can result into following side effects.

  • Breast lumps
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots in the body’s deep veins that interfere with healthy circulation
  • Hyperkalemia, life-threatening levels of potassium in the blood
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE), potentially fatal blood clots in the lungs
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Hypertention
  • Liver tumors
  • Cardiovascular problems in general
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Being overweight
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
  • Fainting spells
  • Confusion
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • High blood potassium (hyperkalemia)
  • Sudden loss of vision or vision changes
  • Suggesting a blood clot in the eye
  • Pancreatitis
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Severe headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach problems
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Kidney and liver failure
  • Heart attack risk
  • Blood clots risk
  • Loss of libido

The most severe side effects of Yaz and Yasmin are blood clots, gallbladder disease and pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Each of these severe conditions are discussed in more detail below.

Increased Risk Of Blood Clots

The use of Yasmin or Yaz increases the risk of blood clots.  Both drugs have drospirenone (a progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) as their active ingredients. They are responsible for increased risk of abnormal internal blood clots. These clots can pose severe health problems. Two recently published studies concluded that women taking contraceptives with drospirenone had a greater risk of blood clots than women who took birth control that contained other forms of progestin.

Pulmonary Embolism

Internal blood clots can cause high risk of developing pulmonary embolism. These blood clots can travel to lungs and cause pulmonary embolism. This can result in disturbed functioning of lungs and other lung related problems.  In extreme cases, a pulmonary embolism can result in death.  Because pulmonary embolisms are the direct result of blood clots, the studies mentioned above also implicate Yaz and Yasmin as causes of pulmonary embolisms.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Blood clots formed in the deep veins are called DVT. These types of clots can occur in legs, arms, chest or pelvis. These clots, if persist can hinder the blood flow completely. Symptoms of this disorder are pain, swelling, sensation or weakness in affected area. These clots can even travel to heart causing heart attack or other heart related problems.  As with other clotting-related health issues, the studies demonstrate that Yaz and Yasmin cause DVT.

Gallbladder Disease and Gallstones

Yaz and Yasmin can increase the level of cholesterol in the body, which can result into disturbance to bile production and development of gallstones. They can also reduce the gallbladder’s contractions. This leads to deposition of bile in gallbladder and can result into inflammation. This condition is known as acute acalculous gallbladder disease. Patients may need to get their gallbladder removed to treat this problem.