Introduction

Yaz and Yasmin are birth control pills. Both are brand-name drugs that also have generic versions available. This article tells you how these drugs are alike and how they are different. This information may help you decide if Yaz or Yasmin is a good option for you.

Use, dosage, and storage

The use, dosage, and storage needs for Yaz and Yasmin are mostly similar.

Use

Like all birth control pills, Yaz and Yasmin are mainly used to help prevent pregnancy in women of childbearing age. Yasmin is approved for this use only, but Yaz is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two other uses.

Preventing pregnancy

Yaz and Yasmin contain slightly different amounts of two female hormones: ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen) and drospirenone (a progestin). These hormones reduce your risk of pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the release of an egg from one of your ovaries) and causing other changes in your cervix and uterus that make it harder for pregnancy to occur.

Treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

With this condition, a woman can feel severely depressed, anxious, or irritable. These symptoms typically occur several days before the woman’s period starts. PMDD is more severe than premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Yaz is approved to help treat PMDD. Yasmin is not approved to treat PMDD.

Treating acne

Yaz is approved to help treat moderate acne in women 14 years of age or older who also need an oral contraceptive. Yasmin is not approved to treat acne.

Both Yaz and Yasmin do not protect against HIV infection. They also don’t protect against other sexually transmitted infections.

Dosage

Yaz and Yasmin are tablets that you take by mouth. They come in blister packs with 28 tablets per pack. In each pack, most tablets contain hormones, and the rest do not. For each cycle, you take one tablet per day for 28 days.

For Yaz:

  • Take one pink tablet with hormones every day for 24 days.
  • Then take one white tablet without hormones every day for 4 days.

For Yasmin:

  • Take one yellow tablet with hormones every day for 21 days.
  • Then take one white tablet without hormones every day for 7 days.

Storage

You should store the Yaz and Yasmin blister packs at room temperature.

Cost, insurance coverage, and availability

Yaz and Yasmin may not be covered by your insurance because they’re both brand-name drugs.

Many insurance companies are more likely to cover generic products than brand-name drugs. This is because generic drugs cost less. There are generic versions available of both Yaz and Yasmin, so your doctor may prescribe a generic version instead. Generic versions of Yaz include Gianvi, Loryna, and Vestura. The generic version of Yasmin is Ocella.

If you don’t use insurance, you would pay the cash price for Yaz, Yasmin, or a generic. This cost can be higher for brand-name drugs than for generic drugs.

Both Yaz and Yasmin are available at most pharmacies.

Side effects

All drugs can cause side effects. Some of these are more common and may go away after a few days. Others are more serious. These side effects can require medical care. Be sure to consider all side effects when choosing a drug.

Yaz and Yasmin cause the same side effects. The pills contain different amounts of hormones, though, so how often you experience the side effects may vary.

Common side effects

Yaz, Yasmin, and other birth control pills have similar common side effects. These include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • bleeding between your periods
  • weight gain
  • breast tenderness
  • headache
  • trouble wearing contact lenses (hormone products may change the way lenses fit)

Serious side effects

The serious side effects for Yaz and Yasmin are similar. These side effects are rare in healthy women. They include:

  • blood clots
  • high blood pressure
  • gallbladder disease
  • increased potassium level (may cause heart rhythm problems)
  • liver tumors (rare; may or may not be cancerous)

Drug interactions

When a substance changes the way a drug works, that’s called an interaction. An interaction can cause you harm or keep the drug from working well.

Certain drugs may interact with all birth control pills, including Yaz and Yasmin. For instance, they may keep the birth control pills from working well to prevent pregnancy. Examples of drugs that may interact with Yaz or Yasmin include:

  • tuberculosis drugs such as rifabutin or rifampin
  • levothyroxine (thyroid medication)
  • HIV drugs such as nelfinavir or ritonavir
  • antiseizure drugs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, or lamotrigine
  • antibiotics such as clarithromycin or erythromycin
  • cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin or rosuvastatin
  • antifungal drugs such as itraconazole, voriconazole, or fluconazole
  • pain drugs such as morphine or acetaminophen
  • drugs to prevent organ transplant rejection such as mycophenolate
  • drugs to lower blood pressure such as enalapril, lisinopril, losartan, or valsartan
  • anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium

If you take any of these drugs with Yaz or Yasmin, you may need to use an additional birth control method. They may increase bleeding between periods or increase your potassium levels.

To find out if Yaz or Yasmin might interact with another drug you’re taking, talk with your doctor. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

Use with other medical conditions

You need to consider your overall health when choosing a drug. If you have a condition or disease, a certain drug may make it worse. The effects of Yaz or Yasmin would be the same on any medical conditions you have.

Many women can use these pills safely. However, you should avoid them in some cases.

Don’t use Yaz or Yasmin if:

  • you’re pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • you smoke and are older than 35 years of age

Also avoid Yaz or Yasmin if you have:

  • blood clotting problems, such as:
    • a history of blood clots
    • a history of stroke
    • a history of heart attack
    • certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm problems that can cause blood clots to form in your heart
    • a problem with your blood that’s inherited (runs in your family) and makes your blood clot more than normal
  • high blood pressure that’s not controlled by medication
  • diabetes that has caused kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage
  • a history of severe migraine headaches, with symptoms of aura, numbness, weakness, or vision changes
  • a history of breast cancer or any cancer that’s affected by female hormones
  • liver disease, including liver tumors
  • kidney disease
  • adrenal disease

In addition, birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have or have had:

  • cholestasis of pregnancy (jaundice caused by pregnancy)
  • chloasma gravidarim (darkening of your skin during pregnancy)
  • hereditary angioedema (a rare but serious immune system problem that’s passed down in your family)

Finally, if you’ve had depression in the past, talk with your doctor about whether Yaz or Yasmin is safe for you. Watch your depression symptoms if you take one of these birth control pills. If your depression returns or gets worse, stop taking the pill and call your doctor.

Note: Women of any age who use birth control pills are strongly advised not to smoke.

Effectiveness

Yaz and Yasmin work as well as most other birth control pills. When used correctly, they have very low pregnancy rates per year of use.

  • Yaz: About 1–2 women out of 100 women may get pregnant.
  • Yasmin: About 1 woman out of 100 women may get pregnant.

Pharmacist’s takeaway advice

Yaz and Yasmin are very similar birth control pills. The main differences between them may be use and side effects. Yaz is approved to treat PMDD and acne as well as to prevent pregnancy, while Yasmin is only approved to prevent pregnancy. Yaz and Yasmin contain somewhat different amounts of hormones, which could make the amount of side effects differ slightly.

To help you decide if Yaz, Yasmin, or another birth control pill is right for you, talk with your doctor. Review this article and your health history with them. Your doctor can help you find a birth control pill that can meet your health needs.