Product News and Recalls

Blood-clot-related coma makes nurse go blind

An ABC Nightline story recounts the experience of pediatric nurse, who took the medication Yaz because she wanted to look nice on her wedding day, and ended up going blind after a blood clot sent her into a coma.

The report says the woman, from Wisconsin, started taking the blockbuster birth control pill in 2007 because of an advertising blitz by manufacturer Bayer, which made exaggerated claims that it would treat acne and premenstrual bloating. Ubersox’s fiancé had recently proposed and she wanted to look good for the upcoming wedding.

Three months later, according to the report, Ubersox developed a blood clot in her leg that traveled to her lungs. She went into a coma for nearly two weeks, and woke up blind.

Yaz contains a synthetic hormone called drospirenone, which a number of studies have linked to significantly higher risk of blood clots compared to other birth control pills on the market. Oral contraceptives with drospirenone include Yasmin, Beyaz and Ocella.

According to the Nightline report, Yaz sales reached nearly $2 billion a year after its release in 2006, making it at one time the leading birth control pill on the market and Bayer’s top-selling drug. Those sales came largely as a result of coverage from TV news shows and women’s magazines, touting it as a “miracle pill” that could eliminate PMS symptoms.

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that Yaz was not shown to be effective for common PMS, just a rare and serious form of menstrual symptoms, and that claims it treated acne were “misleadingly overstate(d).”

The Nightline report references internal documents from Bayer indicating that company executives encouraged the misleading claims.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

See the story here: