|WarningsIf any of the conditions/risk factors mentioned below is present, the benefits of COC use should be weighed against the possible risks for each individual woman and discussed with the woman before she decides to start using it. In the event of aggravation, exacerbation or first appearance of any of these conditions or risk factors, the woman should contact her physician. The physician should then decide on whether COC use should be discontinued.• Circulatory DisordersThe use of any combined oral contraceptive (COC) carries an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared with no use. The excess risk of VTE is highest during the first year a woman initially starts using a COC or when she restarts COC use after a pill-free interval of at least a month.Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of VTE in women with no known risk factors for VTE who use low dose oestrogen (<50 µg ethinylestradiol combined oral contraceptives) ranges from about 20 cases per 100,000 woman-years (for levonorgestrel-containing COCs ) to 40 cases per 100,000 women-years (for desogestrel/ gestodene-containing COCs). This compares with 5 to 10 cases per 100,000 woman-years for non-users and 60 cases per 100,000 pregnancies. VTE is fatal in 1-2% of cases.Epidemiological studies have shown that the risk of VTE for drospirenone-containing COCs is higher than for levonorgestrel-containing COCs (so-called second generation preparations) and may be similar to the risk for desogestrel/ gestodene-containing COCs (so-called third generation preparations).Epidemiological studies have also associated the use of combined COCs with an increased risk for arterial (myocardial infarction, transient ischaemic attack) thromboembolism.Extremely rarely, thrombosis has been reported to occur in other blood vessels, e.g. hepatic, mesenteric, renal, cerebral or retinal veins and arteries, in contraceptive pill users. There is no consensus as to whether the occurrence of these events is associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives.Symptoms of venous or arterial thrombotic/thromboembolic events or of a cerebrovascular accident can include:• unusual unilateral leg pain and/ or swelling• sudden severe pain in the chest, whether or not it radiates to the left arm• sudden breathlessness• sudden onset of coughing• any unusual, severe, prolonged headache• sudden partial or complete loss of vision• diplopia• slurred speech or aphasia• vertigo• collapse with or without focal seizure• weakness or very marked numbness suddenly affecting one side or one part of the body• motor disturbances• 'acute' abdomen.The risk for venous thromboembolic complications in COCs users increases with:• increasing age• a positive family history (venous thromboembolism ever in a sibling or parent at relatively early age). If a hereditary predisposition is suspected, the woman should be referred to a specialist for advice before deciding about any COC use.• prolonged immobilisation, major surgery, any surgery to the legs, or major trauma. In these situations it is advisable to discontinue the pill (in the case of elective surgery at least four weeks in advance) and not resume until two weeks after complete remobilisation. Antithrombotic treatment should be considered if the pills have not been discontinued in advance.• obesity (body mass index over 30 kg/m²).• there is no consensus about the possible role of varicose veins and superficial thrombophlebitis in the onset or progression of venous thrombosis.The risk of arterial thrombo-embolic complications or of a cerebrovascular accident in COC users increases with:• increasing age• smoking (women over 35 years should be strongly advised not to smoke if they wish to use an COC)• dyslipoproteinemia• hypertension• migraine• obesity (body mass index over 30 kg/m²)• a positive family history (arterial thromboembolism ever in a sibling or parent at relatively early age). If a hereditary predisposition is suspected, the woman should be referred to a specialist for advice before deciding about any COC use• valvular heart disease• atrial fibrillationThe presence of one serious risk factor or multiple risk factors for venous or arterial disease, respectively, can also constitute a contra-indication. The possibility of anticoagulant therapy should also be taken into account. COC users should be specifically pointed out to contact their physician in case of possible symptoms of thrombosis. In case of suspected or confirmed thrombosis, COC use should be discontinued. Adequate alternative contraception should be initiated because of the teratogenicity of anticoagulant therapy (coumarins).The increased risk of thromboembolism in the puerperium must be considered (for information on "Pregnancy and Lactation" see section 4.6).Other medical conditions which have been associated with adverse vascular events include diabetes mellitus, systemic lupus erythematosus, haemolytic uremic syndrome and chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis) and sickle cell disease.An increase in frequency or severity of migraine during COC use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason for immediate discontinuation of the COC.• TumoursAn increased risk of cervical cancer in long-term users of COCs (> 5 years) has been reported in some epidemiological studies, but there continues to be controversy about the extent to which this finding is attributable to the confounding effects of sexual behaviour and other factors such as human papilloma virus (HPV).A meta-analysis from 54 epidemiological studies reported that there is a slightly increased relative risk (RR = 1.24) of having breast cancer diagnosed in women who are currently using COCs. The excess risk gradually disappears during the course of the 10 years after cessation of COC use. Because breast cancer is rare in women under 40 years of age, the excess number of breast cancer diagnoses in current and recent COC users is small in relation to the overall risk of breast cancer. These studies do not provide evidence for causation. The observed pattern of increased risk may be due to an earlier diagnosis of breast cancer in COC users, the biological effects of COCs or a combination of both. The breast cancers diagnosed in ever-users tend to be less advanced clinically than the cancers diagnosed in never-users.In rare cases, benign liver tumours, and even more rarely, malignant liver tumours have been reported in users of COCs. In isolated cases, these tumours have led to life-threatening intra-abdominal haemorrhages. A hepatic tumour should be considered in the differential diagnosis when severe upper abdominal pain, liver enlargement or signs of intra-abdominal haemorrhage occur in women taking COCs.With the use of the higher-dosed COCs (50 µg ethinylestradiol) the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer is reduced. Whether this also applies to lower-dosed COCs remains to be confirmed.• Other conditionsThe progestin component in Yasminelle is an aldosterone antagonist with potassium sparing properties. In most cases, no increase of potassium levels is to be expected. In a clinical study, however in some patients with mild or moderate renal impairment and concomitant use of potassium-sparing medicinal products serum potassium levels slightly, but not significantly, increased during drospirenone intake. Therefore, it is recommended to check serum potassium during the first treatment cycle in patients presenting with renal insufficiency and a pretreatment serum potassium in the upper reference range, and particularly during concomitant use of potassium sparing medicinal products. See also section 4.5.Women with hypertriglyceridemia, or a family history thereof, may be at an increased risk of pancreatitis when using COCs.Although small increases in blood pressure have been reported in many women taking COCs, clinically relevant increases are rare. Only in these rare cases an immediate discontinuation of COC use is justified. If, during the use of a COC in preexisting hypertension, constantly elevated blood pressure values or a significant increase in blood pressure do not respond adequately to antihypertensive treatment, the COC must be withdrawn. Where considered appropriate, COC use may be resumed if normotensive values can be achieved with antihypertensive therapy.The following conditions have been reported to occur or deteriorate with both pregnancy and COC use, but the evidence of an association with COC use is inconclusive: jaundice and/or pruritus related to cholestasis; gallstones; porphyria; systemic lupus erythematosus; haemolytic uremic syndrome; Sydenham's chorea; herpes gestationis; otosclerosis-related hearing loss.In women with hereditary angioedema exogenous estrogens may induce or exacerbate symptoms of angioedema.Acute or chronic disturbances of liver function may necessitate the discontinuation of COC use until markers of liver function return to normal. Recurrence of cholestatic jaundice and/or cholestasis-related pruritus which previously occurred during pregnancy or during previous use of sex steroids necessitates the discontinuation of COCs.Although COCs may have an effect on peripheral insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, there is no evidence for a need to alter the therapeutic regimen in diabetics using low-dose COCs (containing < 0.05 mg ethinylestradiol). However, diabetic women should be carefully observed, particularly in the early stage of COC use. Worsening of endogenous depression, of epilepsy, of Crohn's disease and of ulcerative colitis has been reported during COC use.Chloasma may occasionally occur, especially in women with a history of chloasma gravidarum. Women with a tendency to chloasma should avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation whilst taking COCs.This medicinal product contains 46 mg lactose per tablet. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption who are on a lactose-free diet should take this amount into consideration.Medical examination/consultationPrior to the initiation or reinstitution of Yasminelle a complete medical history (including family history) should be taken and pregnancy must be ruled out. Blood pressure should be measured and a physical examination should be performed, guided by the contra-indications (see section 4.3) and warnings (see section 4.4). The woman should also be instructed to carefully read the user leaflet and to adhere to the advice given. The frequency and nature of examinations should be based on established practice guidelines and be adapted to the individual woman. Women should be advised that oral contraceptives do not protect against HIV infections (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases. Reduced efficacyThe efficacy of COCs may be reduced in the event of e.g. missed tablets (see section 4.2), gastro-intestinal disturbances (see section 4.2) or concomitant medication (see section 4.5). Reduced cycle controlWith all COCs, irregular bleeding (spotting or breakthrough bleeding) may occur, especially during the first months of use. Therefore, the evaluation of any irregular bleeding is only meaningful after an adaptation interval of about three cycles.If bleeding irregularities persist or occur after previously regular cycles, then non-hormonal causes should be considered and adequate diagnostic measures are indicated to exclude malignancy or pregnancy. These may include curettage.In some women withdrawal bleeding may not occur during the tablet-free interval. If the COC has been taken according to the directions described in section 4.2, it is unlikely that the woman is pregnant. However, if the COC has not been taken according to these directions prior to the first missed withdrawal bleed or if two withdrawal bleeds are missed, pregnancy must be ruled out before COC use is continued.