Diane and Diana: Carly’s Story

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January 8, 2013 | 22 Comments


  1. What an ordeal! I’m beginning to wonder if some 19-year-old stoner boy on a skateboard might be a safer source of drugs than the average doctor these days. He probably knows more about side effects.

    Carly, I so hope you are on the road to a somewhat-normal life. You probably know this already, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on Yasmin, a/k/a Yaz. This is the Bayer hormone product sold here in the US, and billed as birth control that also combats acne and “pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.” (By some miracle they never got Dianette approved on the US market.) It contains drospirenone, a progesterone relative, instead of the anti-androgen that’s in Dianette, so it should not be as hazardous – but it is on the FDA’s Top Ten most-complained-about drug list, both currently and since 2004. The most serious issue is the small but real risk of blood clots leading to heart attack or stroke – which is true of all birth control pills but appears to be worse for Yaz than the older ones. It also has been reported as causing depression in some takers. I doubt there is any synthetic hormone product that is totally innocent on that score.

    Finally, Tina Fey has a little something to say … if you can deal with any humor around this question at all, please have a look at this Saturday Night Live spoof-advertisement for “Annuale,” the birth control pill that lets you cut your periods down to once a year! I didn’t really appreciate the satire till I read your story:


  2. I will definitely be submitting my own report as well. I’ve taken Diane-35 on and off for many years for my acne and my mild hirsutism. It has also helped greatly with diminishing the occurrence of the benign lumps in my breast and has made my periods much more manageable. But with every benefit there is a drawback. Little to no sex drive. I developed that infamous lump in the tail of Spence. Depression like nobody’s business. Fatigue to where you’re often tired even after a good 8 hour sleep. Loss of interest in even mundane things like bathing, which led to a very mild weight gain for me because you try to combat that lethargy and depression with comfort foods–not knowing what else to do. I’m six months into my latest Diane-35 stint and I’m feeling all of the negative above.

  3. My friend was on Dianette for 5 years before she recently realized that it could have adverse effects. She had heard it had been banned in France and began researching the drug online and through this RxISK website. She became concerned and went to her doctor. This is what she said:
    “When I told the doctor of my concerns, that Dianette could cause blood clots and had been banned in France, she laughed in my face and said ‘but this is our best selling product’. She was not listening and just wanted to rush me out. She treated me like a nuisance/ a bold schoolgirl and made me feel like an idiot.”

    My friend left with a prescription for Yasmin/Yaz which (upon more RxISK researching) seems to be just as dangerous. Irish doctors seem totally clueless and blind to any prescription drug-induced harm. My friend is now looking for a new doctor.

  4. I am 19 and have been on Diane-35 for 4 months and ever since the first month of taking the pill, I have been an emotional wreck. This isn’t my first time on the pill but is my first time on Diane-35. I get overwhelmingly sad very easily, tiny instances which usually wouldn’t bother me can trigger very emotional depression. I feel like everything in my world is caving in and that nothing will ever fix it. I become very irrational and feel like I have no control over me emotions or consequential reactions. This happens all through-out the month.
    An example is I was with friends playing Xbox, which I haven’t played much of in my life, and they made note in a friendly way of how I’m not very good at playing. I they spiralled into an emotional blur and had to instantly leave my friend’s house. When I got in the car I was uncontrollably crying because I thought that my friends hated me and that meant I was going to spend the rest of my life alone and never be able to have a career.. just stay in my parent’s home all my life. I deleted all of my phone contacts because I figured I had no use for them and rejected calls from my best friend who had noticed something was up. The next day I couldn’t believe that I felt and acted like that and was very annoyed that I deleted all of my phone contacts.
    Occurrences like this are happening every day, sometimes bigs and sometimes small. I never used to be a crier but I can’t hold back my tears every single day over silly things. I hate putting my friends and family subject to these emotions that control me and I am very sick of feeling helpless, depressed and a subject of a pill which is helping my health physically but damaging it mentally. I am hoping that these negative effects of Diane-35 which wear off of become controllable because I am joining the army and may lose my job placement if they find out I’ve been suffering with symptoms of depression. I haven’t gone to a doctor because of that fact.

    • I know what you mean about the sensitive to the smallest things. I would spiral into an uncontrollable crying mood and think I would achieve nothing in my life and don’t get my wrong I still have low points but nothing compared to being on Diane 35/Estelle 35. I wanted to die. I have been off the pill for nearly a year and I am glad – I didn’t realize how dull my personality had become and how weak I felt. I love my partner but I didn’t realize how much crap he put me through and just kept slogging on this weak and sad shell.

      You are definitely suffering some form of depression as I am but I refuse to take drugs for it until I am a year free of Diane 35.

  5. im so sorry to hear of your experience please go to see your doctor or tell a good friend or family member how you feel, i did not know what was happening and tried to commit suicide in 2002 after four years on this medication and my whole personality changed, I didnt tell anyone and it was only after getting help and coming off it that the doc told me how dangerous this was and that i should never have been on it for so long she was my new doctor and called the suicide attempt a hiccup in my life!!! then told me how dangerous it was for your liver. Doctors really need to look at the whole person, I would never totally trust anyone now but have become more self aware
    I hope you get the help you need and take care

  6. Hi! A couple months ago my doctor started me on Synthroid and Diane-35 at the same time, even though it’s not recommended. Anyway, directly after I started taking them I started feeling like utter crap. I wouldn’t get up in the morning because I didn’t want to go anywhere, I became deeply depressed within such a short period of time. Once I got home from school I would go to bed, then sleep straight from 4pm-7am the next morning when I had to get up and do it all again. I would spend the majority of my time crying, for no apparent reason at all.
    My doctor took me off of both meds at the same time, about a week ago, and within three days I was feeling pretty much back to normal. I’m still feeling a little icky here and there, but overall, I’m definitely better without the medications.
    Whether it was Synthroid or Diane-35, or a combination of both, I won’t know, but after reading this, I’ll definitely research each medication before I start taking them no matter what my doctor says.

    • Hello!
      I’ve been reading through and I can’t believe how many other females are experiencing this?! I thought that I was just all of a sudden depressed and anxious for no reason. Once I had done some research and started look at reviews it was so obvious that diane-35 was causing all of my issues.
      I initially went on Diane-35 about 8 months ago because I was getting incredibly painful cystic acne and no other treatments were working, so I decided to change over to this pill, I was made aware of the possibility of blood clots but nothing else.. I have had almost all of the above;
      – Extreme depression
      – High anxiety
      – Extreme lethargy (I could barely wash the dishes without having the need to sit down half way through)
      – Weight gain (I have always ate well and exercised and for some reason I couldn’t shift any weight and it kept coming on)
      – No sex drive (no desire what so ever, no emotional stimulation or physical stimulation was working, or appealing)
      – Constant migraine headaches (almost daily)
      I’m currently looking at other alternatives and thinking about coming off the pill all together and not going on another one.. Trying to weigh up which is more important, my quality of life or not having painful cystic acne and no self esteem.
      I definitely think doctors should be warning women about these side effects, they are extremely serious and can be very debilitating to ones self and to their relationships. I’m glad I found some other women in the same boat as me so I know that it’s not just me and that I can fix the way I’m feeling by stopping this medication.

    • Emma, my wife started Diane 35 and is in a severe depression. I threw the tablets in the dumpster 3 days ago. How much longer til she starts clearing up? Could you email me? Concerned husband.

  7. I’m. Reading these. Comments and in shock and at the same. Time. Relief someone understand what it’s like On This dangeors pill but I feel. Trapped now That I can’t come Off It I rely on it so much to keep My acne away but the mood d and depression are an every day occurrence it’s ‘scary to Think what’s going to Happen if I say on it or Yet again come off It

    • I had acne as well and for me it works halibut derma, it dries the acne and I never got any acne scar again.

  8. I started with Diane-35 after a surgery to ovary cysts after some time I had my first panic attack, I start with a roller coaster of mood swings, a lot of anxiety, extreme sensibility to critics and depression i went to therapy and I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (negative thoughts over and over) and started to take antidepressants ah and I had huge migraines too. The worst time was always in the last week of the pill. Well I manage to quit anti depressives and learned to deal with my emotions but still I wasn’t feeling like myself. Many years later I left the pill and to discover that I am normal again. No panick attacks, just a little bit of pms. I wish I had never been put up to this. And it seams the doctors still have a lot to learn.

  9. I’ve been prescribed Diane35 when i was 14, for the awful cystic acne and (head) hair loss that the hormonal changes brought with them. Around that time i started to feel depressed and anxious. I stop being social, happy, easy-going and active. I started to see psychologist and psychiatrists, attempted suicide multiple times and self-harm in different forms. I was diagnosed with different “syndromes & disorders”, according to the different Drs. i saw. Bipolar, GAD, Borderline, Atypical Depression Syndrome, OCD and all you can think of, i’ve been medicated for!! In the past 30 years (im 44 now), i’ve been feeling like a lab rat, just waiting for my time in this earth to be over, because my life energy has left me a long time ago. Reading all this, today, im stopping Diane35. Who knows? Maybe something may still change…

  10. Hello. I cannot believe it’s taken me to today to do some research on “dianette” AKA “co-cyprindiol” which I’ve been takin for almost 2 years and 6 months now for severe acne. Around 15 months ago I started experiencing severe dizziness and anxiety. To which originally my GP diagnosed me with vertigo because my ears were clogged up with a lot of wax. I went to get this treated and had my ears syringed. This did not help like everyone told me it would. My Gp then went on to diagnose me with anxiety and depression and still to this day hadn’t made any suggestions that my pill could be causing this. I am struggling deeply with panic attacks and anxiety I can’t go outside the door I’ve even been having suicilde thoughts because I can’t bare this out of control feeling any longer I have weekend counceling and it just won’t go away. From reading dozens of negative articles on this medication I’m now wondering in shock if is the co cyprindiol making me feel this way and causing these effects of my mental and wellbeing. Can someone please point me in the right direction I’m at the end of the road with this. Thankyou

  11. The same has happened to me, I was put on dianette a year ago. I was prescribed it for pcos, a diagnosis I’m not entirely sure about as I only display one of the qualifying 3 symptoms. I’m not overweight which is one, and I don’t have cysts. A simple blood test was taken, couple of one sided questions asked , wasn’t examined either. Yet I was put on this dianette pill after my gp knowing my history struggles with my mental health. It goes without saying this pill made it MUCH worse. I felt depressed and just very heavy with stress ever since, started to develop a panic disorder, constant suicidal thoughts, weight gain that just wouldn’t shift ( I did comfort eat , completely new symptom) but I am an avid exersiser so this again was out of the ordinary. The way I looked at my partner changed too . He didn’t look the same to me, what I mean is I wasn’t attracted to him, I didn’t want a hug, a kiss repulsed me and libido completely dead and buried. I went on a dream holiday, a place I had always wanted to go and the first 2 days I cried all the time wanting to go home, telling myself if it got too much I could always just jump off the balcony. I should not be thinking like that! There and then on that 2nd day I stopped taking my tablets. I’m just about over 2 weeks stopping taking them now and today has been a good day I feel a bit happier and a bit more open for giggles with my partner, even contemplated a hug earlier ( big step) . This needs addressing, this pill puts people lives at risk physically and at the hamd of themselves . thank you all for sharing your stories too

  12. I am a 21 year old female who has struggled with mild acne since I was 15. I was prescribed Diane-35 about 2 years ago after I talked to my doctor about relieving my acne. I was also prescribed a cream (Benzol-Peroxide 4%/5%) and saw an immediate improvement in my skin – I went from being a girl with acne to a girl who got compliments on her skin all the time. Acne was non-existent, I barely had to even wash my face. It was also so glowy and beautiful! However, like many other posts, I experienced depression and anxiety. The smallest things would trigger me and even my friends and family would joke about me being “crazy” while on this birth control.
    For now, I’ve started on one called Freya and my acne is somewhat controlled but coming back slowly. I don’t know if the cream really even helps, but I will continue to use it. My hormones are controlled, I’m feeling much happier and much more like myself but I miss my days with perfect skin that I never had to worry about. Anyone have any idea of what to do to get back to my glory days of clear skin?

  13. I am 23, I started taking Diane 35 this year of 2020 February 20. I took it because I was prescribed by 2 OB’s. The first OB prescribed me to take Diane due to vaginal discharge I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS back then but she decided to have me take Diane which I did not because I was just a teenager and I do not like taking drugs then fast forward back in 2017 or 2018 I had menstrual fluctuations and I was having discharge with unusual smell then they performed an ultrasound then they saw tiny cysts on both ovaries, right then she diagnosed me with PCOS she gave me a choice whether to take a pill for a week to see if my mens get regulated or take a contraceptive pill. I went for the 1 week pill cuz I really don’t like to drink medications everyday. Then fast forward again, at the end of 2019, Oct and Nov, I did not menstruated but on Dec I did but twice and menstruated for weeks and both are heavy flow. So when 2020 comes I decided to take a pill but forgotten last January and when February comes I decided do it so I waited for my mens to come and when it did I started taking Diane-35. But after 5th day I stopped taking it, I stopped not because of depression but because of other side effects. My left leg and arm aches and my neck aches it feels like there’s a pressure aroun my neck, I’m getting headaches and I’m having chest pains too. I panicked because of the fear of blood clots because I started having shortness of breath and palpitations. My fingers are aching whenever I wear rings. My nerves are aching. I’m still having chest pains after I stopped, it’s my 2nd day out of the pills. I’m going to see a cardiologist to check my heart and lungs just to be safe.

  14. I’m 15 and I’ve taken the pill for 8 months. It was the worst decision of my life. Even though my skin cleared up quite a bit, the pill definitely triggered mood swings, and severe depression. I stopped taking it a week ago and already I’ve started to feel less anxious and depressed. To anyone who thinks about starting the pill, please be very careful. My dermatologist didn’t tell me the side effects. I started feeling nauseous and eventually started throwing up every day at school(4 months straight). Please please please don’t take it

  15. Currently 1 and 1/2 months into taking this pill for severe acne. If anything my acne only appears to have gotten worse. I’ve suffered from depression years ago at 17 (im now 24) and slowly can feel myself getting irritated and having a bad attitude / mood swings / emotional – but not depressed. Just wondering at what point the acne will show signs of disappearing or if i should just cut my losses and save my personality whilst i still can.

  16. This makes me so angry they even prescribe this drug. I took it for 6months and cried several times a day for no reason. It coincided with the death of a close family member so I attributed the suicidal feelings to that. Years later I took it again and within a week I was crying several times a day uncontrollably. I haven’t touched pills since. I think it’s dangerous to upset my whole hormonal regulation system when I can just use condoms. This drug is so dangerous.

  17. I suffer from anxiety induced ibs and was prescribed diane. After a whole second month of anxiety and crying my eyes out today, I decided to do some research and came across this article, and things suddenly make sense. Thankyou for putting your story out there and struggling to get it recognized. It has helped alot.

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