As consumers, we assume that if a drug has been approved by the FDA and is made available to the public, it must not only be effective, but safe as well. Most people understand that no drug is one hundred percent safe and that most medications are accompanied by a few side effects. However, these side effects are typically minor and unlikely to cause us unreasonable harm. Unfortunately, there actually are a number of drugs currently on the market that have been associated with severe and even fatal side effects. In fact, the risks associated with these medications often outweigh even the possible benefits.
One of the most widely prescribed forms of medication are oral contraceptives, used by approximately one hundred million people worldwide. One of the most popular brands of birth control pills is Yasmin, a drug that has been on the market since 2001 and is currently manufactured by Bayer Healthcare Inc. Yasmin promises consumers not only effective pregnancy prevention, but also moderate acne control and treatment of the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Unfortunately, Yasmin has also been associated with a number of serious health conditions, including gallbladder disease.
The gallbladder is the small, pear-shaped organ located under the liver, responsible for storing and concentrating bile produced by the liver. This bile is then released by the gallbladder into the upper small intestine, or duodenum, to aid in the digestion of foods, particularly fats and fatty acids. Gallbladder disease is a condition which inhibits the gallbladder’s ability to function properly, potentially leading to serious illness. Gallbladder disease typically appears in two forms: inflammation of the gallbladder, called cholecystitis, and the formation of gallstones, called cholelithiasis. Gallstones are formed in the gallbladder when substances in bile create solid particles. These stones range in size and if they are large enough, can then block the cystic duct that leads from the gallbladder to the small intestine. Blockage can cause severe inflammation and infection of the gallbladder and, left untreated, can cause life-threatening complications, possibly requiring removal of the organ. Common symptoms of gallbladder disease include pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen, pain following meals, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and intolerance of fatty foods.
Since women are traditionally twice as likely to develop gallbladder disease than men, any factor that increases this risk can cause even more serious complications for women. Recent studies have shown that the hormones in oral contraceptives like Yasmin may increase the levels of cholesterol in bile secreted from the liver, as well as reduce activity within the organ. Elevated cholesterol levels can cause the crystallization of gallstones, and decreased activity in the gallbladder can affect the organ’s ability to produce the contractions necessary to push bile through the cystic duct and into the small intestine. If concentrated bile remains in the gallbladder, the organ may become inflamed and infected, leading to further complications.
The increased risk of gallbladder disease linked to the use of Yasmin is believed to be caused by the drug’s synthetic form of progestin called drospirenone. Drospirenone acts as a diuretic, which studies have shown increases an individual’s risk of developing serious health problems, including gallbladder disease. Drospirenone’s dangerous qualities have become increasingly apparent in recent years. A warning letter composed by the FDA and sent to Bayer in 2008 indicated that drospirenone may lead to serious health and heart problems, including heart attack, stroke and blood clots.
Bayer has been criticized by the FDA for a number of dishonest and misleading practices in the form of inaccurate Yasmin television advertising and the implementation of faulty testing methods at certain Bayer manufacturing facilities. A number of Yasmin lawsuits are pending against Bayer for injuries sustained by consumers of the drug, and hundreds of additional Yasmin injury cases are currently being investigated. Unfortunately, consumers are susceptible to the deceptive actions of drug manufacturing companies on a daily basis. Some pharmaceutical companies intentionally conceal the more serious side effects associated with their medications in order to expedite the FDA approval process. This leaves innocent consumers unknowingly vulnerable to serious injury and even death. The only way to stand up to these big drug companies and receive reimbursement for your injuries is to file a Yasmin lawsuit.
Victims of Yasmin-related injuries are not at fault. Drug manufacturing companies like Bayer are responsible for warning consumers of any unreasonable and dangerous side effects of their medications. Without accurate information, consumers are unable to form an educated decision about their medications based upon both the risk and benefits involved. If you or a loved one has suffered from gallbladder disease as a result of taking Yasmin, contact a Yasmin attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and an experienced Yasmin lawyer can help you develop a successful case against the pharmaceutical company.