Ortho Evra Patch – Is it Worth the Risk?

The Ortho Evra Patch provides women with a simple solution for their birth control needs. A patch applied to the skin once a month is more convenient than a pill taken every day. As with most medicines today, there are always side effects to go along with the benefits of taking a certain drug. But at what point do the risks start to outweigh the benefits and conveniences of taking it? Most hormone based contraceptives increase your risk for developing blood clots, but the risk is three times greater with the Ortho Evra Patch. This increased risk comes from higher levels of estrogen as well as the constant dosage of estrogen found in the Ortho Evra Patch but not the pill.

While the current FDA label warns of a higher risk of blood clots, patient reports showed women using the Ortho Evra Patch were about 12 times more likely to suffer a stroke and 18 times more likely to suffer blood clots. In anotherstudy, women using the patch were 60 percent more likely to experience venous thrombotic events (VETs). With VTEs, blood clots occur in one of the deep veins in the body, such as the leg or pelvis, and then may travel to the lungs, which could lead to stroke or death. Because of these findings, the FDA voted 20 to 3 with one abstention, that the current label was inadequate.

What’s even more alarming is that the makers of the Ortho Evra Patch, Johnson & Johnson, might have actually had knowledge of these increased risked as far back as 2005. One investigation revealed Johnson & Johnson knew about the higher risks and chose to ignore those warnings. With the new information regarding the possible side effects from using the Ortho Evra Patch it is no wonder sales of the patch have decreased in the last 5 years. The patch might be an easy solution for your birth control needs, but it is a solution with potential life threatening risks.