Yaz Birth Control Pills

Yaz® (drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol) is a birth control pill that is approved for several different uses. Although it is primarily used for preventing pregnancy, it can also be used to treat symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and acne in women who also desire contraception.
Compared to traditional birth control pills, Yaz is different in two important ways. First, the progesterone that it uses (drospirenone) is closely related to spironolactone, a medication used as a diuretic ("water pill").
Drospirenone has anti-androgenic activity, which means that it works against testosterone and other "male" hormones. All women have a small amount of these hormones, which can cause acne and other problems. Also, drospirenone may increase the level of potassium in your blood, which can be a problem for some women.
Second, Yaz contains 24 active pills and 4 inactive pills (which have no active ingredients), compared to traditional birth control pills, which have 21 active pills and 7 inactive pills. Having fewer inactive pills seems to decrease some of the bothersome symptoms that occur just before and during your period.
(Click Yaz for information on when and how to take these birth control pills, to learn more about the effectiveness of Yaz, and to find out what you should discuss with your healthcare provider before using this medication.)
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD