July 18, 2004
Are you putting your health at risk? A new report says you might be if you are using a birth control patch.
It is one of the most popular birth control options in the U.S. Ortho Evra, often referred to as the patch, allows women the convenience of only thinking about birth control once a week, rather than daily. Recent reports show increased health risks like stroke, heart attack, or blood clots may accompany the patch's convenience.
"There certainly are major side effects, a slight increase in major side-effects with any contraception," says Dr. Ted A. Harris with Blue Ridge OB-GYN.
Recent reports show woman using the patch are three times more likely to suffer serious side effects than those using the pill. "One or two studies seem to indicate there might be one or two more per 100,000 women of some of those things on the patch versus the pill," added Harris.
Because the patch is still relatively new and not a lot of research has been done on its effects, Dr. Harris advises patients not to worry much. "It might just be one or two chances per 100,000, which is something a woman might feel that she can live with, so step number one is to talk to the people that are prescribing you the patch and see what their take is on it."
Despite the new reports, patch-maker Ortho McNeil maintains the patch is just as safe as the pill. Several lawsuits have been filed by families of women who died or suffered blood clots from using the patch, and more are expected.