Yaz is the relatively new birth control pill that contains a progestin called drosperinone. The estrogen and progestins in Yaz are the same as those in the older BCP called Yasmin. However, Yas has a lower dose of estrogen and the active portion of the pill is present for more days in the pill cycle. Yaz was approved by the FDA in 2006. At that time studies were presented showing that Yaz helped with symptoms of a very severe form of PMS called PMDD (for those of you who want the full clinical name it’s premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction). This was the first time a birth control pill was approved to help treat PMDD…but not PMS. Apparently a line was crossed when it came to direct to consumer ads. Perhaps you noticed them; they are beguiling titled “Not Gonna Take It” and “Balloons”. The ads implied that if you bloat, are moody and have PMS symptoms, Yaz will help you feel better or better yet, become free (of symptoms, not political or social repression)! Drawing this conclusion just cost the pharmaceutical company Bayer 20 million dollars. The FDA has stated that the ads must be corrected; that no corroborating studies have been presented to indicate that “ordinary” symptoms of PMS constitute an indication for Yaz.
This makes a huge difference; probably more than 50% of women experience some PMS symptoms before their period.) PMDD, defined as a much more severe condition that causes disruptive emotional and physical symptoms, including depression, anxiety, persistent anger, headaches and joint pain is rare affecting “only” 3 to 8 % of women. I know that I have, on occasion, drawn the conclusion that what is good for PMDD will be good for PMS. And some of my patients with PMS who took Yas did indeed feel better. But I don’t want to tout anecdotal medicine. If I prescribed this Pill for you or a friend and your doing well (it does help diminish acne and water retention) than stay with it. But it’s possible that any birth control pill which prevents the hormonal fluctuations that occur with ovulation and post ovulation would have made a difference.