A group of Canadian women are suing the makers of Bayer’s popular oral contraceptives Yaz and Yasmin, saying they were not adequately warned about the pills’ adverse side-effects.
Some women using the popular contraceptives report racing hearts, strokes and, in some cases, serious gallbladder problems that require surgery.
Christine Lovelace, one of the women involved in the suit, says that after she began taking Yaz last February (for reasons beyond birth control), she started getting heart palpitations, waking up in the middle of the night with her heart racing, and unusual menstrual changes, with periods lasting as long as 14 days. Her doctors thought the 42-year-old was suffering from anxiety or entering menopause. They told her not to worry. Then, last fall, Lovelace had a TIA stroke (transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke”).
She was paralyzed on her left side and lost the ability to communicate. The palpitations and racing heart stopped after she quit taking the pill and she has recovered from the stroke save for some nerve damage to her hand and foot.
Jennifer Demunnik also took Yaz. A year and a half after starting the pill, her doctors found she had developed gallstones. They told the 27-year-old her gallbladder would need to be removed. After her surgery, Demunnik went online and found other women taking Yaz and Yasmin who had similar complaints. She also found reports that some 1,100 lawsuits had been filed in the U.S. involving these pills.
Siskinds LLP filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Bayer Inc., the maker of Yaz and Yasmin, though it has not yet been court-certified.
Yasmin and Yaz were approved by Health Canada in 2004 and 2008 respectively. The pills have become bestsellers among teens and young women. More than 2 million prescriptions were filled in Canada in 2009, reports IMS Health Canada.
Bayer contends its oral contraceptives “have been and continue to be extensively studied worldwide and are safe and effective when used according to the product labeling.”
Information from CTV News.