Yasmin is associated with hyperkalemia, a life-threatening medical emergency in which potassium levels in the bloodstream get too high. If Yasmin hyperkalemia is not diagnosed and treated right away, it can cause a sudden irregular heartbeat. In the most severe cases, an irregularly beating heart is unable to supply blood to the body. A person can die from cardiac arrest and heart failure.
Yasmin and Hyperkalemia
Yasmin, first sold in 2001, is an oral contraceptive sold by Bayer. It was the first contraceptive to contain drospirenone, a controversial “fourth generation” synthetic progestin.
When Yasmin was first sold, it was heavily marketed as a superior drug to older birth control pills. The ads also failed to communicate risk information. Although the FDA later called these ads “misleading,” by the time the average woman became aware of Yasmin side effects, many women had already been injured. If you were injured by Yasmin hyperkalemia, you are not alone. Bayer now faces thousands of injury lawsuits regarding the side effects of Yasmin, including hyperkalemia.
What is Hyperkalemia?
Hyperkalemia occurs when potassium levels get too high in a person’s bloodstream. It is a life-threatening, medical 911 emergency. Although potassium is essential for a healthy metabolism, an imbalance of potassium in the bloodstream can be deadly. In a healthy person, approximately 98% of the potassium in the body is contained inside cells, and 2% circulates in the bloodstream. The hormones in Yasmin can throw off this balance, interfering with the normal way that cells absorb potassium from the bloodstream.
Potassium is in nerve cells, muscle cells, and cells inside the heart. One of the biggest risks is that Yasmin hyperkalemia will affect the heart muscle. Hyperkalemia can cause an irregular heartbeat. This may be so severe that the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, and the body is not supplied with the oxygenated blood it needs to survive. This can cause heart failure, organ system failure, and death.
Signs & Symptoms of Yasmin Hyperkalemia
Yasmin hyperkalemia may have no symptoms. This is dangerous, because a person who has this side effect may not be aware of the condition or seek treatment until it is too late. Even further complicating matters, a doctor may have trouble diagnosing hyperkalemia. It is unusual for a young woman with no history of the illness to get hyperkalemia, but it does occur in women who take hormonal birth control pills. Hyperkalemia has no characteristic symptoms, and a doctor must order a blood test to diagnose it.
Symptoms of Yasmin hyperkalemia include:
- Slow, weak, or irregular pulse
- Sudden collapse
- Changes in consciousness — feeling faint, dizzy, weak, etc.
- Slow heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Tingling, numbness, or other unusual feelings
Treatment and Prognosis for Yasmin Hyperkalemia
The goal of treatment will be to prevent potassium levels from continuing to grow higher, and also prevent irregular heart rhythm from causing death. A doctor will use a machine that monitors heart rhythm called an ECG to watch for signs of heart distress. The doctor will also probably use intravenous medications (calcium, insulin, and bicarbonate). The drugs cause cells to absorb extra potassium from the blood. They also help the body excrete potassium in the urine and stools.