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Ortho Evra: The True Side Effects on the First and Only Weekly Applied Birth Control.

Sha’Da Brooks

September 24, 2007


                                                                ORTHO EVRA (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol transdermal system)

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Background information:

In November 2001, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Ortho Evra Patch. It is manufactured by Ortho- McNeil Pharmaceutical and first debuted in April 2002.

  ortho evra

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What is it?

The Ortho Evra patch is a patch filled with the main ingredients ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin. The purpose of the patch is to prevent pregnancy by releasing the hormones progestin and estrogen. It could be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor. The Ortho Evra patch also prevents the possibility of ovulation and thickens the lining of the uterus so sperm can not get through as easily. The Ortho Evra patch is the first and only weekly contraceptive that was approved by the FDA. The patch is claimed to be 99% effective when used correctly (

How it works?



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In a month supply of the patch, there comes 3 patches. You would apply a new patch everyone week for 3 consecutive weeks and then go patch free for the 4th week, which is the menstruation period. The patch delivers a steady flow of progestin and estrogen over a 7 day period.  There are 3 main layers of the patch. The outer layer is a layer that protects from damage. The inner layer contains the medicine. The adhesive layer makes it attach to the skin.

There are listed common side effects of the patch such as breast tenderness, reactions at the site of application, headache, nausea, upper respiratory infection, and menstrual cramps. ( Those side effects are supposed to gradually go away with time. The more serious side effects are those such as blood clots, heart attack and stroke. The patch releases 60% more estrogen than regular oral contraceptives. The increased number of estrogen leads to the more serious side effects. In July 20005, the Associated Press released a FDA study that women were 3 times more likely to get blood clots while using the patch rather than the pill. In November 2005, Ortho- McNeil had to improve the dug warning label (

Studies: There are not many published scientific studies where they are finding that these side effects are linked to the use of the Ortho Evra patch. In February 2006, the Ortho Women’s Health and Urology released two different studies that were completely opposite. One study showed that it had no connection with the life threatening side effects while the other showed that they were two times more likely to get the side effects. The data is not consistent. The fact that the study was conducted by people in the franchise as the manufacturers does not provide credible. The are numerous lawsuits against the manufacturers of the patch because in some cases the patch has caused 23 deaths were 18 were from blood clots and 5 were from heart attack and stroke (

Conclusion: The Ortho Evra patch is a more discreet form of birth control, but the side effects can be life threatening. The serious side effects include blood clots, stroke, heart attack and weight gain. The manufacturers are not trying to prove that the patch is more effective so how is the public supposed to trust the Ortho Evra patch when the manufacturers do not have their trust in it.

















Food and Drug Administration.

Ortho- McNeil Pharmaceutical.

Hissey Keintz, LLP.

Elizabeth Mechcatie "Early results of two Ortho Evra patch safety studies are mixed". OB/GYN News. March 15, 2006. 24 Sep. 2007.

Ortho- McNeil Pharmaceutical.




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