Ortho Evra’s birth control patch is easy and convenient, but is it safe? This concern has prompted many doctors to stop writing prescriptions for the popular form of birth control.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that Ortho Evra’s label have a boldfaced warning informing women that they are exposed to 60% more estrogen than if they were taking a regular birth control pill. Increased exposure to estrogen puts women at a greater risk for blood clots, although it is not certain whether patch users are at a higher risk for the clots.
Erring on the side of caution, some individual practitioners and major health-care providers stopped writing new patch prescriptions. Pennsylvania State University is no longer issuing the prescription and is considering contacting all students who currently have a prescription for the patch, even if they are no longer students.
Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical unit, manufacturers of the patch, maintains that the patch is a safe and effective product, when used correctly. They also mention that, like with any hormonal contraception, it may not be suitable for everyone.
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