Bayer has become the target of yet another lawsuit that was filed on May 10. The plaintiff, mother of 18 year old Michelle Pfleger who died from a pulmonary embolism, alleges that Bayer’s Yaz birth control was the cause of her daughters death. At the time of her death Michelle was using Yaz to control her acne.
Michelle was a student at Elon University in North Carolina where she was on her way to attend class when she collapsed due to cardiovascular complications. Doctors diagnosed the adverse event as a cardiac arrest that occurred when a blood clot entered the girls lungs, inevitably causing a dramatic decrease in blood pressure that eventually killed her. As a result, the mother of the New Jersey teen alleges that her daughters death was caused by the side effects of Yaz birth control.
Michelles death adds weight to the long-suspected link between Yaz and the development of severe, life-threatening blood clots. The use of drospirenone in the birth control pills is often cited as the cause of the increased risk associated with Yaz when compared to older oral contraceptives. Drospirenone, a new type of progestin used in Yaz, has been reported to cause increased levels of potassium in the bloodstream. As a result, this concentrated level of potassium can lead to hyperkalemia, a condition in which blood clots may form, which in turn can lead to heart attacks and pulmonary embolism.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received over 50 wrongful death complaints in regards to Yaz and Yasmin induced blood clots between 2004 and 2008. Cardiac arrest, pulmonary embolisms and strokes, with elevated levels of potassium in young women dominated the reports.
In an attempt to market their product to young women and teens, Bayer stressed the potential benefits of Yaz to treat acne and symptoms of PMS, while minimizing the potential risk of blood clots from Yaz. However, the FDA acknowledged these misleading advertisements and forced Bayer to implement a $20 million advertising campaign in 2009 to correct misrepresentations about the safety of Yaz.
Due to the severity of the side effects associated with drospirenone in Yaz, Bayer currently faces about 7,000 Yaz lawsuits. All of which allege that the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the increased risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries from Yaz, such as a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or gallbladder disease.
Drospirenone Containing Contraceptives
Other oral birth control pills that contain drospirenone include the following:
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