Ortho Evra birth control patch side effects
By Staff Writer
The Ortho Evra patch was released by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals in 2002 as an alternative to its Ortho Cyclen line of birth control pills. Ortho Evra contained a similar form of hormonal birth control as Ortho Cyclen but was highly popular among consumers for its convenience. Unlike daily birth control pills, the Ortho Evra patch only needs to be applied once per week.
However, it became apparent after the release of Ortho Evra that there was a much higher risk of birth control patch side effects than with birth control pills. The estrogen in the Ortho Evra patch passes directly into the blood stream—rather than through the stomach and liver, as with the pill—so wearers receive a 60% higher dose than with birth control pills.
Because estrogen increases blood clotting, this increased hormone dose can cause a host of Ortho Evra side effects, including blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that wearers of the Ortho Evra patch face three times the risk of death than those who take birth control pills. Other studies find that Ortho Evra users have four times the number of strokes and other birth control patch side effects than those taking the pill.
Both the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have issued warnings about the birth control patch side effects of Ortho Evra. Many physicians say that because there is little difference in the effectiveness of Ortho Evra and birth control pills, women should switch to the pill or another form of birth control to avoid the risk of Ortho Evra side effects.
So far, at least 23 women have died from side effects of Ortho Evra. Several hundred more have suffered birth control patch injuries. Many of these women have filed Ortho Evra lawsuits against Ortho-McNeil and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. The women allege that the two companies knew or should have known about the health risks posed by Ortho Evra side effects and that they should have done more to warn women.
About the Author
Hissey Kientz, LLP
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