Have you been diagnosed with a Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)? This condition refers to a serious, life-threatening blood clot that forms in the legs and becomes trapped in the lungs. Gianvi is known to increase a woman’s risk of blood clots by 75%. They typically form in the large vessels in the legs (called “Deep Vein Thrombosis” or DVT), and can break free and cause damage to lung tissue (called “Pulmonary Embolism”).
Gianvi is an oral birth control pill that is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken as directed. It was approved by the FDA in 2010. In addition to preventing pregnancy, Gianvi is also approved to reduce symptoms of mild acne, and also treat a rare condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).Women using Gianvi take 24 “active” pills which contain two types of synthetic female reproductive hormones:
- 3-mg drospirenone — synthetic progestin
- 0.02-mg ethinyl estradiol — synthetic estrogen
If you take Gianvi to prevent pregnancy, you may have been prescribed Yaz initially. Gianvi and Yaz are essentially the same medication — both contain the same amount of active ingredients, dosage, risks, benefits, and side effects. Gianvi is the generic version of Yaz, which means that it is distributed by a generic drug company (Teva Pharmaceuticals or Barr Laboratories) and is usually cheaper than brand-name Yaz.
Gianvi and Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
Unfortunately, Gianvi and other birth control pills containing drospirenone have been linked to a 75% increased risk of blood clots, compared to older versions of synthetic progestin. Though it is well-known that all types of progestin increase a woman’s risk of developing blood clots, the risk with drospirenone is slightly higher. Though only 10 women per 10,000 taking drospirenone are expected to develop a blood clot, this number is around 4-6 more cases than older progestin. Because tens of millions of women switched to drospirenone after Yaz and Yasmin were approved, this means that there are potentially thousands of extra cases of blood clots and venous thromboembolisms.
If a blood clot that forms in Deep Vein Thrombosis breaks loose, it is called an embolism. Embolisms are one of the most dangerous side effects of using Gianvi. It is difficult for the body to dissolve a blood clot, and they can become trapped in the small blood vessels in the heart, brain, or lungs, causing heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or death.
If you have suffered a VTE after taking Gianvi, you are not alone. Bayer now faces thousands of lawsuits brought by women who suffered severe side effects after taking drospirenone-containing birth control pills. In 2009, Bayer faced lawsuits on behalf of 50 women who died, many from VTEs.
What is a Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)?
A Venous Thromboembolism, or VTE, is a name that refers to a combination of two severe conditions:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): When a blood clot forms in deep veins in the body, typically in the lower leg, thigh, hip, or pelvis. Rarely, blood clots form in the arms or upper body. The problem is that all blood in the veins travels to the heart, and the heart then pumps it into the lungs.
- Pulmonary Embolism: If a blood clots travels to the lungs, it can become stuck in the small blood vessels inside the lungs. The severity of the event depends on the number and size of the blood clots. If a large portion of the lungs is deprived of oxygen, this condition can quickly cause severe lung tissue damage and death, usually within hours of the event.
Signs and Symptoms of a Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
A Venous Thromboembolism is a life-threatening event, and if you suspect that you have a blood clot, always seek immediate medical attention, because you may be facing a life-threatening situation. Do not wait. It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of people who have a pulmonary embolism will die.
Initial symptoms of a VTE include, but are not limited to:
- Chest Pain: Usually under the breastbone or on one side of the chest. Pain can be sharp, stabbing, burning, aching, dull, or throbbing sensation. It may get worse with deep breathing, coughing, eating, or bending.
- Sudden cough, may be bloody
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath, begins suddenly
- Anxiety, feeling something serious is wrong
- Bluish-purple discoloration to skin, lips, or nails (cyanosis)
- Clammy, cold skin
- Dizziness, fainting, light-headedness
- Leg pain
- Discoloration of one leg
- Low blood pressure