Product News and Recalls

Newer not better where contraceptives are concerned

A higher price as a selling point may seem counterintuitive. Why would somebody purchase a product specifically because it costs more, particularly if safer alternatives are available?

But according to an article by the National Research Center for Women and Families, that’s precisely what happened with Bayer’s Yasmin line of birth control pills, which includes Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

The article by three staffers at the center, including two PhDs, says new medications tend to cost more and be widely advertised when they come on the market. That gives the impression that they’re better.

“Unfortunately,” the article says, “newer often does not mean more effective or safer, because the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) does not require that new drugs be an improvement over older drugs, and often the FDA doesn’t even require that they be as effective or as safe. In addition, since FDA approval is usually based on patients taking a drug for one year or less, the risks may not be obvious at first.”

In the case of Bayer’s Yasmin line of pills, as the article points out, the risk is a higher rate of potentially deadly blood clots. The article mentions a number of studies indicating that Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz, Ocella and other drugs with the artificial hormone drospirenone raise the risk of blood clots by anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times compared to other oral contraceptives on the market.

Only two studies showed no such increased risk, and the authors of both those studies had financial and professional ties to Bayer.

In April, the FDA announced its conclusion that women taking Yaz and other drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives may be at an increased risk for developing blood clots, and ordered changes on the labels to that effect.

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 article here: