In September 2006 I suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack. I was 38, a non-smoker, otherwise in good health and of normal weight, so my only risk factor was the use of the oral contraceptive pill, Yasmin, which I had been on for four years at that point. Because that didn’t seem like ENOUGH of a risk factor to my doctors at the time, they conducted some tests and determined that in addition, I had a large Patent Foramen Ovale (hole in my heart) and a cystic ovary. This led to a year of medical procedures (including heart surgery) and general health discomfort which you can read about here and here and here.
The Bad Drug Yasmin
Re-reading my blog entries from that period it’s clear that at some point before May 2007 I had become convinced that the main villain of the piece was the bad drug Yasmin. I was at the forefront of women attempting to publicize their experiences and insist that the side effects of Yasmin included higher risk of a stroke-type event. Not surprisingly I was eventually contacted by lawyers who wanted to include me in a class action lawsuit against Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant responsible for Yasmin and its sister drug, Yaz.
VTEs vs ATEs
Bayer has now settled (without admitting any liability) many of the cases involving VTE (Venous Thromboembolism) after the FDA concluded that for the bad drug Yasmin the “risk [of VTE] is reported to be up to 2 to 3 times greater than the risk of VTE associated with using levonorgestrel-containing pills.”
They are now supposedly willing to settle some money (again without admitting liability) on some women who suffered ATEs (Arterial Thromboembolism). (Hint: a TIA is usually the result of ATE, not VTE.) So it’s perhaps not surprising that after 9 years last week my lawyers got in touch wanting me to sign some papers and such.
Effect of My PFO
Here’s the thing though, (and I apologize if this is too much medical science) the presence of a PFO permits a VTE to become an ATE. In other words the hole in my heart may well have permitted a blood clot which would naturally have been in the venous system to pass across to the chamber of the heart that pumped it up in an artery to my brain, causing the TIA. Yes, the lawyers know this. I have given them all the paperwork.
I don’t really care about the money. I just want justice and publicity, so that women don’t continue to take the bad drug Yasmin, which, incredibly, is still on the market.