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Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) is a severe medical condition increases pressure in the skull and can cause migraine headaches, blindness, and other complications.

What is Yaz?

Yaz, one of the most popular birth control pills, has been used by millions of women to prevent pregnancy. It contains a combination of hormones, including ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) and drospirenone (progestin). Yaz was approved by the FDA in October 2006 and it is sold by Bayer.

What is the problem?

No one knows what causes PTC, but birth control pills are a possible risk-factor, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). This may help explain why PTC is more commonly diagnosed in women than men. Studies published as early as 1995 have linked levonorgestrel, a common hormone in birth control, with a potential risk of PTC.

Migraine Headaches

The Prescribing Information for Yaz warns that migraine headaches were the most commonly adverse event in clinical trials, reported by 6.7% of women. Headaches are also one of the most common symptoms of PTC.

Blood Clots

Secondary intracranial hypertension can be caused by blood clots in the brain. In recent years, the FDA has issued several Drug Safety Communications to warn that drospirenone, a hormone in Yaz, increases a woman’s risk of venous blood clots compared to other hormones.

What is Pseudotumor Cerebri?

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) (which means “false brain tumor”) is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs when there is too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This condition mimics the effects of a growing tumor. PTC can put pressure on the brain and optic nerve, producing symptoms like headaches, double-vision, and progressive blindness. Surgery may be necessary to drain fluid from the brain and relieve pressure.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Blindness
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • And more