Yaz Birth Control Review: How Effective is it Really?

Yaz Birth Control Review: How Effective is it Really?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to birth control.

Yaz is an oral birth control medication manufactured by Bayer. The drug combines two different hormones and is to be taken daily.

But is Yaz proven to be effective for birth control, and if so, how effective? How does the drug compare to other popular birth control meds? Does it cause any side effects? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Yaz birth control?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the active ingredients in Yaz based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not the drug is likely to be effective for preventing pregnancy.

We’ll also compare its efficacy to other birth control methods, document its side effects, and share patient reviews of Yaz birth control.

Research Review – Does Yaz Work?

Yaz ingredients

Yaz contains two active ingredients: drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. This combination has been studied in clinical trials. 

A 2003 medical review analyzed the efficacy of these two ingredients as contraceptives. The study authors concluded that the combination is “highly effective at preventing pregnancy” because it was shown to cause an average of less than one accidental pregnancy over 100 years of use.

A more recent medical review published in the Women’s Health journal reported similar results. The drug was found to be highly effective for preventing pregnancy.

Ethinyl estradiol is a type of estrogen, and drospirenone is chemically similar to the hormone progesterone. There are several ways these two drug ingredients are effective in decreasing pregnancy rates, but the main one is their inhibition of luteinizing hormone, which then inhibits ovulation. 

There are two questionable additive ingredients in this formulation.

Talc was shown to be associated with increased risk of stomach cancer in a 2019 medical review.

Titanium dioxide is a colorant which is banned in the E.U. for use as a food additive due to concerns about its ability to damage DNA, as we documented in our Amberen reviews article on another product containing this ingredient.

Overall we consider Yaz birth control to be highly effective, and likely to decrease pregnancy risk. But how effective is it compared to other birth control methods? We’ll analyze in the next section.

Yaz vs. Other Contraceptives

We consider Yaz likely to have similar efficacy to other birth control methods. Oral, hormonal birth control drugs have similar mechanisms of action, and FDA approval of this drug implies similar effectiveness to other oral contraceptives.

A medical review on the effectiveness of different types of birth control reports that users of oral contraceptives can expect a failure rate of 0.3% with perfect use and 8% with typical use.

This discrepancy between the effectiveness with perfect use and typical use is why oral contraceptives are not the most effective birth control method. Human error causes people to forget to take their medications at least some of the time, which dramatically increases pregnancy risk.

Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) birth control methods are significantly more effective than oral drugs according to clinical studies.

As we documented in our Vienva birth control reviews article, LARC devices are clinically shown to be around 20x more effective than oral birth control. This suggests that individuals who wish to reduce their pregnancy chance as much as possible should speak with their doctor about LARC devices rather than Yaz.

Real People Try Yaz

A TikTok user named Brogan Black discusses her experience using Yaz and some of the side effects:

@brogan_black Replying to @user5511188371904 ♬ original sound - Brogan Black

A YouTube creator named “thisisAmy” discusses her experience on Yaz:

Does Yaz Cause Side Effects?

Yaz birth control does cause side effects in some patients. Here are some of the side effects listed by the manufacturer as “frequent:” depressive mood, migraine, nausea, breast pain, vaginal discharge, fungal infection.

A meta-study published in the Advances in Therapy journal analyzed side effect rates from real Yaz patients.

The three most commonly reported side effects were nausea (2.6% of patients), breast pain (2.3%) and breast swelling (1.3%). 12.9% of patients overall reported side effects, which is relatively low for a hormonal medication.

A CBC News report found that Yaz and another birth control medication were suspected in 23 deaths of Canadians:

Yaz Manufacturer Sued

Bayer has been sued in relation to potential side effects of Yaz. According to Drugwatch, a shocking 19,000 or more lawsuits have been filed by women who claim to have suffered side effects from Yaz and Yasmin.

The plaintiffs claim that Yaz caused blood clots, gallbladder issues, heart attacks and strokes among other health issues.

While these claims are certainly concerning, we haven’t come across any clinical data suggesting that Yaz is more dangerous than other forms of oral, hormonal birth control. The safety study we cited in the side effect section did not report any severe adverse effects or death, and 1,921 women were included in the study.

Should I Take Yaz Generic?

We typically recommend that patients speak with their doctor about the generic form of medications rather than the brand-name version.

A 2019 meta-study analyzed data from over 3 million patients and concluded that generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs, but they’re often considerably cheaper.

The generic version of Yaz is available on Cost Plus Drugs for only $10.26 for a month’s supply. Given that the retail price even of generic Yaz is over $50 according to GoodRx, Cost Plus Drugs may be the best option.

Real Patients Rate Yaz

Yaz has been reviewed over 900 times on Drugs.com, which is a resource for patients to rate and describe the effects of prescription medication they’re taking. The average rating for Yaz as a birth control drug is 5 out of 10.

The top positive review comes from a user named “Ryry” who claims to not have experienced any negative side effects from the medication:

“I don't have angry mood swings when I take Yaz. My skin gets insanely clear when I take Yaz. My hair grows faster and thicker when I take Yaz (compared to Lo lo esterin). My sex drive is extremely high when I am on Yaz.”

The top negative review is written by a user named “...” who claims it caused negative changes to their mental health:

“Please be careful with this pill it has ruined my life I was on it for just over a week and it has caused me to have a psychotic break I have never had issues with mental health just a little anxiety but nothing I needed help for it’s just common things like crowds did I say the wrong thing in that conversation a so on but now I am having intrusive thoughts more panic attacks then I can count and I am the lowest I have ever felt In my life I have gone from a happy loving person looking forward to her wedding in 10 weeks to someone who doesn’t even know who I am anymore”

Can Yaz Treat Acne?

Yaz is approved by the FDA for the treatment of acne in girls at least 14 years old if they are also seeking a birth control pill. For those considering Yaz as a contraceptive, its acne reduction effects can be seen as a potential secondary benefit.

A clinical trial published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal found that Yaz reduced acne by over 46% after 168 days. The number of Yaz users reporting “clear” skin (suggesting no acne) increased by 300% compared to the start of the trial.

A 2011 medical review found similar results: Yaz was highly effective for the treatment of acne. The medical costs related to acne treatment also decreased by 38% in the women surveyed in this study.

Using Yaz to treat acne alone would be considered an “off-label” use of the drug, but we consider Yaz likely to be effective for reducing acne lesions, which may make this drug more favorable than other oral birth control options for patients seeking both birth control and acne treatment.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Yaz is clinically proven to be effective for reducing pregnancy rates, and should be similarly effective to other oral, hormonal birth control drugs.

The most effective method of birth control is LARC devices which are typically implanted in the body and reduce the risk of human error (forgetting to take a pill).

Yaz is clinically shown to cause side effects like headache and nausea, and has been repeatedly sued over allegations of more severe side effects like blood clotting.

Yaz can reduce acne levels, so for women who are seeking a birth control option and have acne, this drug may be a good choice due to this secondary benefit.

We would recommend that patients speak with their doctor about the generic form of Yaz because it may be significantly cheaper and should be equally effective.