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A study conducted on behalf of manufacturer Johnson & Johnnson revealed that women using the Ortho Evra Contraceptive Patch are at a higher risk of developing serious blood clots than those who use birth control pills. These recent findings reiterate those from an earlier study finding that women, ages 15 – 44, who use the Ortho Evra skin patch have a greater risk for developing a condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) than women using birth control pills. VTE can lead to pulmonary embolism, blood clots in the lungs.

Today the FDA approved changes to the Ortho Evra label that includes the results of this new epidemiology study. It is important that women discuss with their physicians the risks and benefits involved with the different types of birth control methods available.

Because of the ease in use of the skin patch, Ortho Evra’s target market is women ages 15 – 44. Unfortunately, many women have blood disorders that may make them prone to blood clots, but testing for these disorders is not standard until someone actually develops a blood clot. So young women often choose this convenient method of birth control and are unknowingly putting themselves at greater risk for harm.

Hopefully this new labeling change will make more women, and most importantly their health care providers, consider more options when considering contraceptive methods. This study, conducted on behalf of the manufacturer itself, shows that comparing the Ortho Evra patch to birth control pills is not a comparison of apples to apples. The comparison is more akin to poisonous apples to oranges.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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