Bay Area woman sues Yaz birth control

October 19, 2009 6:07:29 PM PDT
A Bay Area woman says the popular birth control pill known as Yaz caused her to have a stroke which has devastated her life. She is suing the drug's maker, Bayer, to take the pill off the market.

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In 2007, Susan Galinis was the happy mother of 3-year-old twins. She wanted to have more children, so when her doctor said she could either have a hysterectomy or take the Yaz birth control pill to control her menstrual pain, she opted for the pill.

Four weeks and one day after starting it, she had a stroke. Surgeons removed part of her skull to accommodate the brain swelling. She lived, but she's not the same.

"My IQ has plummeted to 77, which I guess is borderline mentally retarded, from the stroke, from the brain damage, that's what they say it is," says Galinis.

Galinis was in the hospital for six months. She now has chronic pain and no short-term memory. She cannot drive. Her twins have had to adjust with the help of a counselor.

"She says basically to them their mom did die because she was there one day and the next day she was gone. I was gone for basically six months and then I came home with a different voice, a different personality," says Galinis.

Galinis says her doctors told her it was Yaz that caused the stroke. All birth control pills carry increased risk of stroke, but Galinis' lawyer Mike Danko says studies show it has twice the risk as other pills. On Monday, they filed suit against Yaz manufacturer Bayer.

"If there's any way we can force Bayer to take it off the market, we're going to do it," says Danko.

Bayer says "Patient safety is our top priority. Bayer's oral contraceptives have been and continue to be extensively studied worldwide and are safe and effective when used according to the product labeling."

Earlier this year, Bayer spent $20 million when ordered by the FDA to retract advertising claims that Yaz treats acne and PMS.

Galinis is one of a couple hundred women suing Bayer over Yaz.

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