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The Difference between Yasmin and Yaz

There has been a lot of attention on the combined contraceptive pills Yasmin and Yaz because of the rash of lawsuits pinpointing the products in the death or serious injury of thousands of women. Drug maker Bayer has so far managed to settle 6,700 defective pharmaceutical lawsuits which formed part of the Yaz and Yasmin Multidistrict Litigation in Southern District of Illinois, agreeing to pay a total of $1.4 Billion as of August 2013, but another 5,000 lawsuits are still pending resolution.
Both Yasmin and Yaz are considered 4th generation oral contraceptive pills. They use a combination of drospirenone and an estrogen i.e. ethinyl estradiol to inhibit ovulation.

Essentially, the main difference between Yasmin and Yaz is in the formulation. Yasmin, which first came out in 2001, contains a third more ethinyl estradiol than Yaz, which came out in 2006. Yaz is considered an improvement on Yasmin, although there are some cases when Yasmin is the better choice because it is associated with milder side effects. Yaz is sometimes prescribed for the treatment of acne and to alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (severe premenstrual syndrome). However, Yaz is considered more of a health risk than Yasmin.

Both Yasmin and Yaz are taken over a 28-day period, but while Yasmin has 21 active and 7 palliative (inactive) pills, Yaz has 24 active and 4 palliative pills. This could be the reason why the side effects, if they occur, are said to be more severe with Yaz. Some doctors prefer to prescribe Yasmin because it is the older drug and less likely to spring a nasty surprise down the road than the younger Yaz.

It should be noted that even though the chances of severe side effects is lower with Yasmin, the use of either Yasmin and Yaz carry health risks which some consider to be beyond acceptable levels. If you are prescribed for either Yasmin or Yaz, be sure to question your doctor closely about any risk factors which will make you more vulnerable to complications.