Yaz (drospirenone and ethinylestradiol) is an oral contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy, treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and treat moderate acne in women who are at least 14 years old. A general version of Yaz is available. Can Yaz cause depression?
The usual dose of Yaz is one tablet a day. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (for example Motrin), spironolactone, potassium supplements, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) may contribute to increased potassium levels in combination with Yaz. Drugs that increase or decrease the metabolism of drugs may respectively reduce or increase the concentration of Yaz in the blood. The risk of birth defects in women who inadvertently use oral contraceptives in early pregnancy is low or absent. Hormones in Yaz pass into breast milk and can harm a nursing baby. Yaz can also slow down breast milk production. Breast-feeding while taking Yaz is not recommended.
Basics of birth control
Birth control pills contain hormones. These hormones change the function of the reproductive organs to prevent pregnancy. Complex pills contain man-made versions of female hormones – estrogen and progesterone. These hormones prevent the egg from being released from the ovary or ovulation. They also thicken cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to travel to the uterus and fertilize the egg.
Low-dose progesterone birth control pills, also known as mini-pills, also alter cervical mucus. Minipills take prevention a step further by thinning the lining of the womb. This makes implantation difficult.
The side effects of birth control are usually mild. They may include:
- spotting or irregular bleeding
- sore breasts
- changes in libido
Many women also report weight gain and depression or mood swings.
Is there a link between birth control pills and depression?
Depression and mood swings are commonly reported side effects of birth control pills. The researchers were unable to prove or disprove the link. Research is often contradictory.
A pilot study showed that depression is the most common reason women stop using birth control pills. It was also found that women using COCs were “significantly more depressed” than a similar group of women not taking tablets.
In contrast, a newer study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics (AGO) showed that depression is not a common side effect of birth control pills, which claimed that the relationship between them was unclear.
Should we stop prescribing hormonal birth control?
No. It should be noted that although the risk of depression among women using hormonal birth control was clearly increased, the overall number of women affected was small. About 2.2 out of 100 women using hormonal birth control experienced depression, compared with 1.7 out of 100 who did not. This indicates that only some people will be susceptible to this side effect.