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Pulmonary Embolism And Deep Vein Thrombosis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

Important Resources For Women Using Estrogen-Progestin Combination Birth Control Methods Such As YAZ, Yasmin, Beyaz, Safyral, Ocella, Gianvi, Zarah, Loryna, Syeda, And Vestura, As Well As NuvaRing And Ortho Evra

Pulmonary embolism, commonly referred to in the medical community as a PE, is a highly dangerous, life-threatening condition.

From WebMD's Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center page:

Pulmonary embolism is the sudden blockage of a major blood vessel (artery) in the lung, usually by a blood clot. In most cases, the clots are small and are not deadly, but they can damage the lung. But if the clot is large and stops blood flow to the lung, it can be deadly. Quick treatment could save your life or reduce the risk of future problems.

Many times a PE is associated with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot which forms in a vein of the deep venous system. This type of blood clot can occur anywhere in the body, but they usually happen in extremities, like the leg. According to WebMD's Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center page, "Among patients with DVT, pulmonary embolism will occur in 30%." This happens when the blood clot makes its way to the lung, where very serious damage can occur.

For women who are using estrogen-progestin methods of birth control -- such as YAZ, Yasmin, Ocella, Gianvi, Zarah, Loryna, Syeda, Vestura, Beyaz, and Safyral, as well as NuvaRing and Ortho Evra -- here is some important information from WebMD's Birth Control Health Center about several symptoms that may indicate the formation of a blood clot, which is a serious, potentially fatal side effect of these birth control products:

The following symptoms, called ACHES, are rare but serious and should be reported to your doctor immediately.

  • Abdominal pain that is severe or persists may be a sign of blood clots (thrombophlebitis) in the pelvis, liver blood clots or tumors, or gallbladder disease.
  • Chest pain may be a sign of blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart attack, or heart disease. Smoking increases this risk.
  • Headaches that are severe may be a sign of stroke, migraine, or high blood pressure (hypertension). Smoking increases this risk.
  • Eye problems, such as blurred vision or loss of vision, may be a sign of migraine, blood clots in the eye, or a change in the shape of the cornea.
  • Severe leg pain or sudden swelling of one leg may be a sign of leg blood clots (thrombophlebitis) or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

It is important to remember, however, that often there are no symptoms of DVT. In fact, WebMD reports that over half of DVT cases showed no signs or indicators. However, if you do experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical care immediately. A DVT or some other type of blood clot can quickly become a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

Treatment and Recovery

Normally once the PE or DVT (or both) has been diagnosed, the first step is to dissolve the blood clot. Again drawing from WebMD's Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center page:

If symptoms are severe and life-threatening, immediate and sometimes aggressive treatment is needed. Aggressive treatment may include thrombolytic medicines, which can dissolve a blood clot quickly but also increase the risk of severe bleeding. Another option for life-threatening, large pulmonary embolism is surgical removal of the clot, called an embolectomy. This surgery is only available at a few large hospitals.

The next step is to prevent future clotting. This involves anti-coagulation medication which must be taken for several months. For an unfortunate few, it must be taken forever. All hormone therapy must be stopped (this includes any hormonal birth control methods) and if pregnancy occurs, a series a regular shots must be given to prevent clot formation.


Recovering from pulmonary embolism can be a long and painful process. An excellent source for recovery information is Recovering From A Pulmonary Embolism - What To Expect -- which is a web site created by a woman who has experienced and recovered from a PE.

Another avenue to connect with others who have experienced a PE and to learn about the recovery process is through support groups. has a pulmonary embolism support group geared to open the lines of communication for PE sufferers everywhere.


Related Information

In recent years numerous personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women who developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and other blood clot-related conditions while using certain birth control products.  These lawsuits assert that there was a "failure to warn" about the risk of these serious side effects by the responsible drug company, i.e., a products liability legal claim.

In particular, our law firm and other attorneys have filed lawsuits on behalf of women who developed these serious side effects -- PE, DVT, stroke, and heart attack -- after using the following birth control methods:

  • NuvaRing: A vaginal ring used for contraception which contains ethinyl estradiol and etonogestrel, a metabolite of desogestrel; and,
  • Ortho Evra: "The Patch" is a norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol transdermal system, i.e., in the form of a skin patch worn on the body.

Starting several years ago, we handle these types of drug injury lawsuits for (1) women have been injured and (2) the families of those who have died from using one of these apparently unsafe birth control methods.

If you have this type of possible personal injury or wrongful death case, please know that we offer a confidential, no-cost, and no-obligation online Case Evaluation service:

Free Case Evaluation: YAZ / Yasmin / Ocella / Gianvi / Beyaz / Safyral / Zarah / Loryna / Syeda / Vestura

Free NuvaRing Case Evaluation

Free Ortho Evra Case Evaluation

In the alternative, if you would prefer to speak with us about a possible case you can call us on out toll-free number: (800) 426-9535.  Of course, this is a free consultation.

Lastly, it is important to understand that all states have statutes of limitations which determine the time period allowed to file a birth control side effect lawsuit. The applicable statute of limitation, or deadline to file claims, varies from state to state.  Moreover, the personal injury statute of limitation deadline can be different from the wrongful death statute of limitation deadline within the same state. For example, in some states a personal injury claim must be filed within 3 years from the date a birth control injury is diagnosed, while a wrongful death claim must be filed within 2 years from the date of a death. In some states, the statutes of limitations may be as short as 1 year from the date of diagnosis or death.

Because of these varying lawsuit filing deadlines, you should not delay seeking a law firm to provide legal advice and legal representation if you or a family member suffered a serious adverse reaction from using YAZ / Yasmin / Ocella / Gianvi / Beyaz / Safyral / Zarah / Loryna / Syeda / Vestura, or the NuvaRing, or Ortho Evra.

All content by attorney Tom Lamb

Read more on our Drospirenone (DRSP) Birth Control Pills Information Page >>

Read more on our NuvaRing Information Page >>

Read more on our Ortho Evra Information Page >>

  • US FDA advises that you should not stop taking any prescription medication before talking to your doctor.
  • Reports of serious drug side effects should be made to the US FDA MedWatch program.
  • The prescription drug names are registered trademarks of the respective drug companies.
  • is not affiliated with any of the drug companies, nor US FDA.
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
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1908 Eastwood Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
Tel: (910) 256-2971   Fax: (910) 256-2972
Toll Free: (800) 426-9535