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Yaz

Generic Name: drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol (dro SPY re nown, ETH in il, ESS tra dy ol)
Brand Names:

Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD. Last updated on May 1, 2019.

What is Yaz?

Yaz tablets contain a combination of progesterone (drospirenone) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol). Yaz is a combination birth control pill containing female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Yaz also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Yaz is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to treat moderate acne in women who are at least 14 years old and have started having menstrual periods, and who wish to use birth control pills.

Yaz is also used to treat the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), such as anxiety, depression, irritability, trouble concentrating, lack of energy, sleep or appetite changes, breast tenderness, joint or muscle pain, headache, and weight gain.

Important information

Do not use Yaz if you are pregnant or if you recently had a baby.

Taking Yaz can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Many medical conditions can increase your risk of blood clot, stroke, or heart attack while taking Yaz. Tell your doctor about any and all medical problems, hospitalizations, surgeries, and medications before taking Yaz. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of taking birth control pills. Your risk is also high when you restart birth control pills after not taking them for 4 weeks or longer. If you are immobile for any reason (after a surgery or during long travel) you may also be at increased risk.

Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You should not take Yaz if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

The different brand names (Beyaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Nikki, Ocella, Rajani, Safyral, Syeda, Vestura, Yasmin, Yaz, Yaela, and Zarah) do not have equal amounts of estrogen in them, but vary from pill to pill. They are not interchangeable. If you are taking Yaz, you should not switch to another brand without speaking to your doctor.

Yaz side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Yaz: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Yaz and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;

  • pain, warmth or swelling in one or both legs;

  • shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and/or sudden coughing;

  • coughing up blood;

  • sudden vision loss or blurred vision;

  • chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;

  • symptoms of liver problems - loss of appetite, upper stomach pain, tiredness, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • signs of increased blood pressure - severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;

  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet;

  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches; or

  • symptoms of depression - sleep problems, weakness, tired feeling, mood changes.

Common Yaz side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting;

  • breast tenderness;

  • headache, mood changes, feeling tired or irritable;

  • weight gain;

  • skin darkening or pigmentation changes;

  • changes in your menstrual periods or decreased sex drive.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Before taking this medicine

Taking Yaz can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of taking birth control pills. Your risk is also high when you restart birth control pills after not taking them for 4 weeks or longer.

Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Your risk increases the older you are and the more you smoke. You should not take Yaz if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

Do not use if you are pregnant. Stop using Yaz and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, or if you miss 2 menstrual periods in a row. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least 4 weeks before taking this medicine.

You should not take Yaz if you have:

  • a history of a blood clot;

  • an increased risk of having blood clots due to a heart problem or a hereditary blood disorder;

  • heart disease (coronary artery disease, history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot);

  • migraine headaches associated with aura, numbness, weakness, or vision changes;

  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • circulation problems (especially if caused by diabetes);

  • very high cholesterol or triglycerides (fat in your blood);

  • current or previous pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides;

  • severe liver disease, liver cancer, or benign liver tumors;

  • a history of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin) caused by pregnancy or birth control pills;

  • severe kidney disease or kidney failure;

  • a history of hormone-related cancer, or cancer of the breast, uterus/cervix, or vagina;

  • unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor; or

In addition, you should not take Yaz if you are having (or have recently had) major surgery that requires you to be on bedrest. Do not take Yaz if you smoke and are over 35. You should also not take Yaz if you take any hepatitis C medication containing ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir, or dasabuvir.

To make sure Yaz is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems, high blood pressure, or if you are prone to having blood clots;

  • high levels of potassium in your blood;

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides;

  • depression;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • thyroid disease

  • diabetes

  • gallbladder disease;

  • migraine headaches;

  • lupus;

  • cancer; or

  • inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis).

The hormones in Yaz can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Yaz may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast feeding.

How should I take Yaz?

Take Yaz exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take Yaz in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Take your first pill on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period begins. You may need to use back-up birth control, such as condoms with spermicide, when you first start using this medication.

Take one pill every day, no more than 24 hours apart. When the pills run out, start a new pack the following day. You could get pregnant if you do not take one pill daily.

You may have breakthrough bleeding, especially during the first 3 months. Tell your doctor if this bleeding continues or is very heavy.

If you need major surgery or will be on long-term bed rest, you may need to stop using Yaz for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using this medicine.

Store Yaz at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Follow the patient instructions provided in your Yaz packet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions. Missing a pill increases your risk of becoming pregnant.

If you miss 1 active pill;

  • Take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, take 2 pills at once. Use back-up birth control (such as condoms) for 7 days.

If you miss 2 active pills in a row;

  • During weeks 1-2, take 2 pills on the day you remember and 2 pills the next day. Then take 1 pill daily until the pack is finished. Use back-up birth control (such as condoms) for 7 days.

  • During weeks 3-4, throw out the rest of the pack and start a new pack of pills the same day. Use back-up birth control (such as condoms) for 7 days.

If you miss 3 or more active pills in a row;

  • Throw out the rest of the pill pack and start a new pill pack that same day. Use back-up birth control (such as condoms) for 7 days.

If you miss a reminder pill;

  • throw it away and keep taking 1 reminder pill per day until the pack is empty. You may not have a period during the month you missed pills. If you miss two months in a row, call your physician or take a home pregnancy test.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose may cause nausea or vaginal bleeding.

What should I avoid while taking Yaz?

Do not smoke while taking Yaz, especially if you are older than 35 years of age.

Avoid unprotected intercourse. Yaz will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS. Using a condom is the only way to protect yourself from these diseases.

What other drugs will affect Yaz?

Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Yaz, especially:

  • medications for hepatitis C;

  • seizure medications (including phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, topiramate, oxcarbazepine, primidone, felbamate, and others);

  • rifampicin;

  • antifungal medications including griseofulvin, ketoconazole, itraconzaole, voriconazole, fluconazole, others);

  • antibiotics (including tetracycline, minocycline, ampicillin, others);

  • blood pressure medications (including lisinopril, captopril, enalapril, valsartan, losartan, others);

  • diuretics or water pills including spironolactone (Aldactone);

  • blood thinners such as heparin or enoxaparin (Lovenox);

  • potassium supplements;

  • chronic use of NSAID pain medications (like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, others); or

  • St. John’s wort.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Yaz, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Some drugs can make this medicine less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Yaz only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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