Ortho Evra transdermal birth control patch was obviously a revolutionary development when it was released in 2002 by Ortho-McNeil, a division of Johnson & Johnson, being an allegedly safe alternative to the traditional contraception bill. It was marketed as an apparently simpler alternative to easily forgotten birth control pills, with the same benefits and risks.
The patch, as it is typically called, is a sticky piece of plastic-type that contains elevated doses of estrogen and progestin in order to inhibit being pregnant that a woman attaches to her higher outer arm, buttocks, thigh, or abdomen on the first day associated with her menstrual cycle. During the week the particular patch releases a controlled quantity of hormones into the bloodstream, and at the end of the week the patch will be removed and replaced with another one.
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The last week of the month will be patchless, allowing a woman to have the girl period normally.
Unfortunately, scientists and doctors have known for decades that elevated levels of estrogen can have severe and potentially fatal consequences. The initial birth control pills from the 1960s included more estrogen than necessary to avoid pregnancy, but doctors discovered that higher levels of estrogen could cause heart assaults, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, and blood clots. By 1973 American physicians could prescribe birth control pills using a significantly reduced amount of estrogen, thereby restricting the potential risks to an acceptable level.
At the dawn of the 21st century doctors and scientists apparently forgot the earlier problems of elevated levels of estrogen, for the Ortho Evra patch contains nearly 60% more estrogen than present birth control pills. Most birth control pills contain 35 micrograms of female, but the patch contains significantly higher amounts of hormones. The reasoning behind the elevated amount of hormones within the patch is because there is more lost through the absorption through the skin instead of directly into the blood through digestion. While some women can handle these degrees of estrogen with no problem, many others experience serious and potentially-fatal side effects.
Studies began to show that the patch was three times as likely to cause deaths as traditional oral contraceptives. The Food and Drug Administration estimates they receive between 1% and 10% of all reports of death or adverse reaction, so the actual demise rates may be much higher.
The main issue at hand is that Ortho-McNeil marketed the patch as just as safe as conventional birth control pills. By September 2006 the Food and Drug Management required the label on the Ortho Evra package to indicate the potential risks associated with using the patch in response to several deaths of otherwise healthy young women because of cardiovascular problems. In 2004 twelve women died due to the side effects from the patch, and dozens of other females suffered strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, and pulmonary embolisms. Currently there are approximately 400 lawsuits pending against Ortho-McNeil.