The process of getting a pharmaceutical manufacturer to acknowledge the potential dangers of its medicine is long, slow and tedious.
After all, the company itself cannot be relied upon to be completely unbiased in the reporting of the medicine it produces. In the case of Yaz, the story is incredibly one-sided. Media reports have focused heavily on how the medicine is simple, effective and almost trendy to take. Similarly, there are reports that it can help reduce or even cure young adult acne, as well as help manage weight. At the risk of sounding cliché, these are concerns that appeal directly to many young women, so the appeal of the drug immediately is apparent.
Any mention of its side effects, on the other hand, is few and far between. Recently a certain Broadway star sued because her experiences with Yaz led her to have a stroke at a very young age. This brought a great deal of publicity to the matter, but what about the young women who were exposed to these conditions before a star was? Why wasn’t their story enough to warrant at least a warning label?
The issue is a difficult one. The studies that have been done aren’t ironclad conclusive; more tests are required to make sure the science is accurate and inarguable, and these matters take time. However, it is increasingly clear that taking contraceptives such as Yaz can raise blood potassium levels. This, in turn, can create complications when other medicines, such as commonly prescribed NSAID painkillers, are introduced into a compromised system.
What’s worse is that the symptoms are so quiet, and nothing can be done about them in some cases. The strain on the heart might not be noticed until a heart attack. In the meantime, patients are urged to talk to their doctors and see what their options might be.