Yaz (drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill used to help prevent pregnancy and manage symptoms of other conditions. Yaz can cause side effects ranging from mild to serious, such as nausea and headache.

Specifically, Yaz is used in females* who can become pregnant to:

Typically, people who are prescribed Yaz to treat acne or PMDD are also taking it to help prevent pregnancy.

Yaz comes as an oral tablet and contains the active ingredients drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol.

Keep reading to learn about common, mild, and serious side effects that Yaz can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Yaz has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Some people may experience mild to serious side effects during Yaz treatment. Some side effects may occur during the first week or so of treatment, while others may occur after you’ve taken the drug for a while.

Examples of the drug’s commonly reported side effects include:

  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • menstrual cycle changes, such as spotting
  • breast pain or tenderness
  • intense emotions or changes in mood

Mild side effects have been reported with Yaz. These include:

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed. But if you have symptoms that are ongoing or bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop taking Yaz unless your doctor recommends it.

Yaz may cause mild side effects other than those listed above. See the drug’s prescribing information for details.

Serious side effects have been reported with Yaz. These include:

If you develop serious side effects while taking Yaz, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Yaz, visit MedWatch.

Allergic reaction

For some people, Yaz can cause an allergic reaction. This side effect didn’t occur in studies but has been reported since the drug was approved.

In general, symptoms of allergic reaction can be mild or serious. You can learn more about possible symptoms in this article.

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms and can determine whether you should keep taking Yaz.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to Yaz, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Yaz’s side effects.

What side effects should I expect after stopping Yaz?

Yaz belongs to a group of drugs called combination birth control pills, which contain synthetic (manufactured) hormones. When you stop Yaz treatment, your hormone levels will change. While your body is adjusting to these changes, you may experience side effects such as headache, cramping, and menstrual cycle changes.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about possible side effects from stopping Yaz and how long they may last.

Does Yaz cause long-term side effects?

It’s possible. Long-term side effects include those that may start at any time you’re taking a drug, even if you’ve taken it for a long time. They also include side effects that may not go away, even after you stop taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported in Yaz studies include:

  • liver and gallbladder problems
  • cervical dysplasia (abnormal cell growth on the cervix)

Talk with your doctor to learn more about possible side effects of Yaz and how long they may last.

Learn more about some of the side effects Yaz may cause.

Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events due to cigarette smoking

Yaz has a boxed warning for the increased risk of serious cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) events in people who smoke cigarettes. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Examples of cardiovascular events include heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. These conditions may cause symptoms such as:

  • chest pain
  • sudden and severe headache
  • leg swelling and pain

Doctors typically won’t prescribe Yaz if you have factors that increase your risk of cardiovascular events. Specifically, if you’re more than 35 years old and you smoke, you should not take Yaz, as your risk of these side effects is higher.

What might help

Talk with your doctor about your medical conditions. They will help you decide whether Yaz is right for you. If you’re more than 35 years old and you smoke cigarettes, they’ll likely recommend other birth control options for you.

Cervical dysplasia

Cervical dysplasia was a serious side effect reported in studies of Yaz. This is a condition in which abnormal cells grow on your cervix. Although it’s rare, this can sometimes lead to cervical cancer.

You may not experience symptoms of cervical dysplasia until it progresses to cervical cancer. Symptoms you may experience once it has become cervical cancer include:

  • abnormal vaginal discharge
  • abdominal pain
  • pain during urination
  • unusual bleeding, such as after sex or between periods

What might help

Getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and avoiding cigarette smoking will decrease your risk of cervical dysplasia. Using condoms or another barrier method during sex will also help.

Getting an annual cervical cancer screening can help you identify and manage cervical dysplasia. This will help prevent it from turning into cervical cancer. Talk with your doctor right away if you experience any of the above symptoms while taking Yaz.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Yaz treatment, consider taking notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful when you first start taking a new drug or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon you had the side effect after starting that dose
  • what your symptoms were
  • how your symptoms affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Sharing notes with your doctor will help them learn more about how Yaz affects you. They can then use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Below is important information you should consider before taking Yaz.

Boxed warning: Risk of serious cardiovascular events due to cigarette smoking

Yaz has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the FDA. For details, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Yaz can sometimes cause harmful effects in people with certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether this drug is a good treatment option for you. Talk with your doctor about your health history before starting Yaz. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.