Drospirenone

Drospirenone has low androgenic activity, which means chances of unwanted side effects such as weight gain, acne and hirsutism (female unwanted hair growth) are reduced for users. Along with estrogen in combination birth control pills, it may lessen mild symptoms associated with PMS such as negative mood, increased appetite and water retention.

Benefits

The fourth-generation progestins tend to be highly selective, which means they are more successful at preventing ovulation and lessening menstrual bleeding. They also possess minimal androgenic properties, which means they may have fewer side effects such as acne and hirsutism (female unwanted hair growth). Drospirenone may also lessen mild PMS symptoms such as negative mood, water retention and increased appetite.

YAZ has been Food and Drug Administration approved to treat acne in females who have begun their menstrual cycle. YAZ has also been FDA approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition that is characterized by depression, difficulty concentrating, headaches, anxiety and weight gain.

Risks

Two recent studies concluded that the risk of life-threatening blood clots (venous thromboembolism) is 2 to 3 times higher for women taking drospirenone-containing pills than those containing levonorgestrel. In May 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its plans to evaluate birth control pills containing drospirenone, stating the recent studies had stimulated the FDA’s concern over pills including Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella.

Drospirenone may cause higher potassium levels, so women with kidney, liver or adrenal disease should not use it.

Brands

Monophasic: Ocella, Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz
Multiphasic: Gianvi

Last Updated June 3, 2011: Added information about FDA alert

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How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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