Consumers are constantly inundated by a variety of new medications. Because these drugs have been tested by the pharmaceutical company and approved by the FDA, we naively assume that they are safe and will cause us no serious harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. One of the most widely prescribed forms of medication are birth control pills. In fact, it is estimated that one hundred million women worldwide use oral contraceptives. Unbeknownst to them, there are a number of birth control bills currently on the market which have been associated with severe side effects. In fact, some drugs are so dangerous that their risk of adverse side effects may even outweigh their possible benefits. Yaz, an oral contraceptive manufactured by Bayer, has quickly become one of the most popular forms of birth control pill. However, recent research has linked this drug to a number of major side effects, including gallbladder disease.
The gallbladder is a sac located under the liver, which stores and concentrates bile produced in the liver. Bile is then released by the gallbladder into the upper small intestine to aid in the digestion of fats. Gallbladder disease typically comes in two forms: cholecystitis, which is inflammation of the gallbladder, and cholelithiasis, which produces gallstones. Gallstones are formed in the gallbladder when substances in bile form hard particles. If the gallstones are large enough, they can block the duct that leads from the gallbladder, causing pain and other serious complications. If blockage continues, the consequences can be life-threatening and may require surgical removal of the gallbladder. Symptoms of gallbladder disease include pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen, pain following meals, intolerance of fatty foods, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and occasionally jaundice if the gallbladder duct is blocked.
Women are traditionally twice as likely to develop gallbladder disease than men, and studies have shown that birth control pills like Yaz can increase this risk even more. The hormones in oral contraceptives may increase levels of cholesterol in the bile secreted from the liver, as well as reduce activity within the gallbladder. If there is too much cholesterol in the gallbladder, it can crystallize into stones, called gallstones. These gallstones can become trapped in the bile ducts and cause serious complications. Furthermore, reduced activity within the gallbladder can inhibit the organ’s ability to push the bile through the bile duct and into the small intestine. Infrequent contractions may allow concentrated bile to remain in the gallbladder, causing inflammation and sometimes infection.
The connection between Yaz and gallbladder disease is believed to lay in the drug’s newer type of synthetic progestin called drospirenone, which is a diuretic. Studies have shown that long term use of a diuretic may lead to serious gallbladder problems, sometimes requiring gallbladder removal. The dangers of drospirenone have been apparent for several years. According to a warning letter to Bayer written by the FDA in 2008, drospirenone leads to serious heart & health problems, including heart attack, stroke and blood clots. The FDA, in the same letter, cited Bayer Healthcare Inc. for the use of deceptive methods in several of their Yaz advertisements in which Bayer overstated the drug’s benefits and intentionally distracted viewers from the drug’s harmful side effects. Although Bayer took these commercials off the air in 2009 and began to run a different series of advertisements with these issues corrected, the span of time that passed allowed for even more consumers to be exposed to the drug’s adverse side effects with little to no warning.
Yaz has been heavily marketed to women in the United States for preventing pregnancy, treating moderate acne and even treating symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Unfortunately, consumers have not been adequately warned about the serious complications associated with Yaz use, including gallbladder disease. As consumers, we are vulnerable to the deceptive practices employed by some drug manufacturing companies on a daily basis. In some cases, pharmaceutical companies may conceal the more serious side effects associated with a medication in order to ensure its approval by the FDA. These negligent actions can cause serious problems for consumers and may even lead to death. The only way to receive fair reimbursement for your injuries resulting from Yaz use is to file a Yaz lawsuit.
Each year, more than 800,000 people are hospitalized for gallbladder disease in the United States alone, and more than half a million Americans undergo gallbladder removal each year. There are a number of Yaz lawsuits currently pending against Bayer for serious injuries caused by the medication and hundreds of cases of Yaz injuries are currently being investigated throughout the United States. Victims of injuries sustained as a result of taking Yaz are not at fault and should contact a Yaz attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered from gallbladder disease due to the use of Yaz, a Yaz lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve.