Ortho Evra is a weekly birth-control patch worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy. It prevents pregnancy by delivering continuous levels of hormones through the skin and into the bloodstream.
While Ortho Evra has proven successful for many women looking for alternatives to birth-control pills, attention has been brought to more serious side effects that have caused serious injury and, in some cases, death.
Ortho Evra and the Risk of Blood Clots
In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration approved labeling for the Ortho Evra patch that would warn against the high level of estrogen absorbed through the patch. In 2006, a study confirmed an increased risk of blood clots associated with the Ortho Evra patch. The study found that women who use the patch are twice as likely to develop blood clots as women who use birth-control pills.
In addition, Ortho Evra could expose women to 60 percent more estrogen than oral contraceptives as a result of the method of delivery associated with the patch. Hormones received through the patch absorb directly into the bloodstream as opposed to being diluted by the digestive system. High levels of estrogen could increase the chance of blood clots, stroke and heart attack.
Cases have been brought against Johnson & Johnson, makers of the Ortho Evra patch, for injuries and wrongful death related to blood clotting and strokes. In 2004, the first death as a result of the patch was reported in New York.