It is estimated that one hundred million women worldwide use a form of oral contraceptive as their preferred method of birth control. There are a number of birth control pills currently on the market and, although they share the same purpose of pregnancy prevention, they differ quite a bit in nature. Ocella, for example, is one of a very small group of oral contraceptives that are called “fourth generation” combination birth control pills. This classification means they contain a new type of synthetic progestin, called drospirenone. Ocella is currently manufactured by Barr Laboratories and, although Ocella has become increasingly popular since its introduction in 2008, the drug has been associated with severe health complications, including an increased risk of heart attack.
One of the only reasons for women to continue taking Ocella regardless of the harmful side effects associated with the drug is simply because they are unaware. Unfortunately, some drug manufacturing companies are negligent in the manufacture and marketing of their medications, and some intentionally conceal the potential side effects of their drugs from the FDA and consumers. This puts consumers unknowingly and unwillingly at risk for developing serious injury, illness and even death from harmful medications. Consumers put a large amount of faith in the expertise of pharmaceutical companies and the FDA when determining which medications are effective and safe to take. When drug companies employ deceptive and negligent practices, and the FDA’s regulations aren’t strict enough, consumers are the ones who suffer.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, most often occurs when a blood clot is lodged in a coronary artery, restricting the flow of blood to the heart. If the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough oxygen-rich blood, that section of the heart will become damaged and begin to die, causing a heart attack. The most common symptoms of a heart attack are shortness of breath and chest discomfort or pain. Other symptoms may include nausea, restlessness, vomiting, coughing, dizziness, and a clammy or sweaty feeling. Since heart attacks are most often caused by a blood clot, any factor that causes abnormal development of blood clots can significantly increase an individual’s risk of suffering from a heart attack.
One of the major causes of concern regarding Ocella is the drug’s active progestin ingredient, drospirenone. According to the FDA, drospirenone may cause severe heart and health problems, including heart attack, stroke and blood clots. Studies have shown that drospirenone use increases the level of potassium in the blood, leading to hyperkalemia, a condition known to cause kidney failure and cardiac arrest. In 2009, the British Medical Journal published two studies indicating that Ocella, and its brand-name counterparts Yaz and Yasmin, cause a significant increase in an individual’s risk of developing blood clots compared to other oral contraceptives on the market, by as much as 6.3 times. These blood clots, likely the result of drospirenone, can result in serious medical issues if they travel through the bloodstream to the heart, brain or lungs, possibly resulting in heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism, respectively.
As consumers, we understand that almost every drug on the market comes with side effects and that no medication is one hundred percent safe. However, we believe these side effects to be minor and have little chance of causing us serious harm. Most consumers would refuse to take a medication whose possible benefits were outweighed by the drug’s potential for causing severe side effects. Unfortunately, consumers can’t escape the deceptive practices of drug manufacturing companies, and inadequate information provided by these manufacturers puts consumers at risk of suffering from major health issues and even death.
Unfortunately, heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide and with dangerous drugs like Ocella on the market, this risk is significantly increased. For heart attack survivors, recovery is a slow and difficult process as victims are often plagued with additional health complications like physical and mental difficulties. Victims of Ocella-related heart attack are not at fault and deserve to receive reimbursement for their injuries. The only way to do so is to file a defective drug lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company responsible for your injury or illness. Drug manufacturing companies are responsible for the safety of their drugs and should be held accountable for serious injury sustained by consumers who take their medications. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack and you believe Ocella to be the cause, contact an Ocella attorney for help. An experienced Ocella lawyer can guide you through the legal process and will prove to be a valuable resource during the development of your case.