Yaz is a birth control pill that is primarily used for preventing pregnancy, but can also treat acne and symptoms of PMDD in women who desire contraception. It comes in tablet form and is taken once a day. There is only one standard dose of Yaz, regardless of your age, weight, or medical conditions. Common side effects may include diarrhea, headaches, and nausea.

What Is Yaz?

Yaz® (drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol) is an oral contraceptive (birth control pill) for women that is approved for the following uses:
  • Preventing pregnancy
  • Treating symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Treating acne in women who also desire contraception.
(Click Yaz Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Yaz is made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.

How Does Yaz Work?

Yaz is a combination oral contraceptive that contains an estrogen and a progestin. The drug primarily prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Yaz alters the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, Yaz alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
Yaz is different from traditional birth control pills 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.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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