Beyaz Birth Control Benefits and Side Effects

Beyaz is a combination birth control pill that, when taken every day, can help prevent pregnancy. Each Beyaz pill also provides a daily folate dose. Folate lowers the risk of having rare neural tube defects in a pregnancy. Beyaz birth control can also help treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), as well as moderate acne.

Each pack of Beyaz birth control contains 28 pills—24 pink tablets, each containing 3 milligrams drospirenone (a progestin), 0.02 milligrams ethinyl estradiol (a synthetic estrogen), and 0.451 milligrams levomefolate calcium (a B vitamin). There are also four light-orange tablets that do not contain any hormones but do have 0.451 milligrams levomefolate calcium. Because there are only four placebo pills, Beyaz is also considered to be an extended cycle birth control pill.

Birth control pill blister pack
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Uses

Beyaz works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Each pack supplies a steady dose of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol to last for one month (24 hormone pills and four reminder pills).

How It Is Different

Beyaz provides a daily dose of folate supplementation, which is recommended for women in their reproductive years. Folate lowers the risk of having rare neural tube defects in a pregnancy occurring during Beyaz use or shortly after stopping. If you choose to use the pill as contraception, Beyaz is one kind that provides you with the 0.4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid recommended daily for women of reproductive age.

Beyaz is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat moderate acne. It is thought that the drospirenone in Beyaz helps to block the androgens (hormones) that cause acne. If you have chosen the pill for contraception, are having menstrual periods, and are at least 14 years old, Beyaz may be a good option to help treat your moderate acne.

Beyaz is also FDA approved to treat the emotional and physical symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS, a group of symptoms that precede a menstrual period that can include mood changes, tender breasts, fatigue, and irritability). PMDD affects the psychological well-being and social interactions of some 3%–5% of women of reproductive age.

PMDD symptoms occur before menstruation starts and go away within a few days following the start of the period. They are usually severe enough to impact your daily life. For people who choose the pill for contraception, Beyaz can help offer some relief for PMDD symptoms. Beyaz has not been tested as and effective treatment for PMS, however.

Beyaz vs. Yaz

Beyaz and Yaz are very similar birth control pills. The greatest difference between them is that Beyaz contains the daily dose of levomefolate calcium (B vitamin/folic acid). This makes Beyaz a birth control pill for those rare times that birth control fails, since the folate in this pill can help lower your baby's risk of having neural tube defects.

For the most part, if you do get pregnant while on the pill, your pill use will not harm your baby if continued in early pregnancy.

Noncontraceptive Benefits

Birth control pills like Beyaz can offer additional benefits beyond contraception. These advantages include lowering the risk of:

  • Ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and colorectal cancer
  • Anemia (lack of healthy red blood cells that can result from heavy periods)
  • Excess body hair
  • Noncancerous cysts or lumps in the breast
  • Vaginal dryness and painful sex
  • Osteoporosis (condition of thin and brittle bones)
  • Certain ovarian cysts (fluid-filled sacs in or on an ovary)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus)

Other advantages include:

  • It's discreet.
  • It can lighten and regulate periods and reduce menstrual cramps.
  • It provides daily dosage of folic acid.
  • It allows for sexual spontaneity.
  • It's reversible—fertility returns after stopping.
  • It helps with PMDD and moderate acne.
  • It's safe and effective.

Precaution About Drospirenone

Drospirenone helps suppress the secretion of the hormones that regulate the body's water and electrolytes. Drospirenone may cause higher potassium levels. Because of this, Beyaz may not be the best pill brand for you if you have kidney, liver, or adrenal disease because Beyaz could cause serious heart and health problems.

Beyaz may also have interactions with other drugs that increase potassium. The product label for Beyaz includes a warning that advises healthcare providers to monitor serum potassium levels in the first month if you are also being treated with any drug associated with potassium retention. This would apply if you are currently on daily, long-term treatment using any of these medications:

  • NSAIDs, including Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen), when taken long term and daily for the treatment of arthritis or other problems
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics such as CaroSpir (spironolactone)
  • Potassium supplementation ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors such as Capoten (captopril), Vasotec (enalapril), and Zestril (lisinopril)
  • ACE2 inhibitors (angiotensin-2 receptor antagonists), such as  Cozaar (losartan potassium), Diovan (valsartan), and Avapro (irbesartan)
  • Heparin (used to prevent blood clots)
  • Aldosterone antagonists (water pills)

Side Effects

There is a low occurrence of Beyaz side effects. Side effects will usually go away after two to three months, once your body has gotten used to the hormones. The most common Beyaz side effects are:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)

Who Can Use It?

This birth control method is usually a safe option for most healthy women. It's important that you discuss your complete medical history with your healthcare provider before using Beyaz.

Typically, serious problems do not occur often with hormonal birth control use. Some people can still use Beyaz even with certain risk factors as long as they remain under close medical supervision. Women with a history of depression may not be able to continue to take Beyaz if their depression worsens.

Since this method requires you to take your pill at the same time every day, it may not be the right option for you if you have trouble remembering to take it.

People who use combination pills like Beyaz may have a slightly higher chance of developing certain medical conditions than nonusers. These may include:

  • High blood pressure (which returns to normal when the pill is stopped)
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Liver tumors

A serious problem that could arise from Beyaz use is blood clots in the heart, lungs, brain, or legs. Women using Beyaz who are confined to bedrest or a cast may have a higher chance of developing a blood clot.

The FDA has issued several advisories about blood clots with drospirenone pills and requires special labeling for these products.

Who Shouldn’t Use It?

According to the manufacturer, Bayer, "Do not use Beyaz if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects (heart and blood vessel problems) from birth control pills, including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke."

Typically, Beyaz is not recommended for women who are pregnant or who have:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • A history of liver disease or liver growths, kidney disease, or adrenal disease
  • Undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding
  • A history of blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis), lungs (pulmonary embolism), or eyes (retinal thrombosis)
  • Breast cancer now or in the past, or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones
  • Migraine headaches with aura
  • Heart attack, stroke, or a history of serious heart valve problems or heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause blood clots to form in the heart
  • An inherited problem with your blood that makes it clot more than normal
  • Diabetes with kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage

How to Buy It

You will usually need to have a medical evaluation, a blood pressure check, and possibly a pelvic exam by a healthcare provider to obtain a prescription for Beyaz. You can then have your Beyaz prescription filled at a local pharmacy.

How to Use It

Follow your healthcare provider’s advice as to when to begin and make sure to read the full prescribing information that comes with your pill pack. Pick a time that you will take your pill each day. There are two start options:

  • Day one start: Take the first pill of the pack during the first 24 hours of the start of your period. You will not need to use an over-the-counter (OTC) birth control backup method of birth control.
  • Sunday start: Take the first pill of the pack on the Sunday after your period starts, even if you're still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start the pack that same day. Use a backup method (like a condom and spermicide) until you have taken seven pills.

Costs

Beyaz comes in monthly packs that can cost anywhere between $15 and $80 (plus the expense of having a medical examination or blood pressure check in order to get the prescription). There is currently no Beyaz generic alternative available.

Beyaz is a covered contraceptive method in plans offered in the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). As such, there are no co-payments for this prescription if your plan is purchased from the marketplace. However, some religious and nonprofit employer plans are not required to cover contraception. In many communities, Medicaid covers the cost of this contraceptive method.

You should check your private health insurance policy as coverage for many combination hormonal contraceptives should be covered with no out-of-pocket costs.

Bayer is also offering a savings card program for Beyaz. After you sign up for this program, you will pay a $0 co-pay for Beyaz if you are insured. If you do not have insurance, you will receive up to $100 off each Beyaz prescription.

Effectiveness

Beyaz pills are 92%–99.7% effective. When used correctly, only about 1 or 2 women out of every 100 will get pregnant during the first year of use.

Certain medications may also decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives like Beyaz.

STI Protection

This method offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

1 Source
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  1. BEYAZ (drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol/ levomefolate calcium tablets and levomefolate calcium tablets) [package insert]. Wayne, NJ: Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.; 2012. 

Additional Reading

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.