October 5, 2011
Bayer Pharmaceuticals is famous for many reasons: they’re one of the leading chemical and drug companies in the world; they have been leaders in bringing aspirin to the world not just for aches and pains but for heart attacks and even colon cancer; and lately, and less favorably, they’re under fire for some problems that allegedly resulted in young women who took one of their popular birth control brands, Yaz and Yasmin.
So our ears pricked up when we saw a research article on PMDD, also known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, was written by Bayer scientists in Brazil. The paper is an attempt to estimate the number of women who suffer from severe PMS and PMDD in Latin America. While it’s a worthwhile subject, when a drug company goes about creating increased awareness of a medical condition for which their medication is very likely to be prescribed, we can’t help but think that such research contains some profit motive.
You see, drospirenone-containing birth control has been studied quite a bit for use in PMDD and severe PMS, with many of these studies indicating these drugs should be a first-line treatment. In fact, such medications are considered part of the standard of care for these conditions. Recently, though, the British Medical Journal has published studies showing that drospirenone is associated with roughly four times the risk of blood clots compared to an older drug that drospirenone is meant to replace.
It’s not unusual for drug companies to publish research from which they’ll benefit, though we might wish they would publish their negative results just as readily. It’s also not unusual for doctors to have to balance risks and benefits when making the decision to prescribe medication. Unfortunately, many doctors are unaware of the significant risks allegedly associated with Yaz and Yasmin.
We look forward to the day when there is money available to adequately research natural therapies for PMS and PMDD such as a natural diet, supportive lifestyle, and hormone-balancing herbs and nutrients.