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Doctors wary of birth-control patch

Nov 22, 2005 | Washington Times

Doctors have become wary of a birth-control patch since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning of increased hormone intake.

The Ortho Evra contraceptive patch, sold in the United States since 2002, outsells all brands of birth control pills, with 10 million prescriptions last year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The patch is more convenient since it only needs to be replaced once a week.

But the FDA two weeks ago ordered the patch's manufacturer to place a warning on packaging that women who use the patch get 60 percent more estrogen than those on the pill because the hormone is metabolized differently. That could pose a greater risk of blood clots.

The patch is especially popular with younger women. But a number of university health services have stopped prescribing it or are considering the step, the Journal said.
Ortho-McNeil, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that manufactures the patch, says millions of women have used it with no sign that it causes major health problems.

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