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Birth Control Health Center

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Warning Added to Birth Control Patch

Ortho Evra Patch Exposes Women to More Estrogen Than Birth Control Pills; May Raise Risk of Blood Clots, Says FDA


Can a woman decrease the amount of estrogen from the Ortho Evra patch by cutting the patch and applying only a part of the patch?
No. The patch should not be cut. If cut or altered, Ortho Evra will not protect against pregnancy.

If a woman wants to change from the Ortho Evra patch to a birth control pill, what should she do?
Talk to her health care professional. The health care professional will help her make this change.

Where can I find more information on this?
If you have further questions regarding any medications, please contact the FDA's Center for Drug's Division of Drug Information at (888) INFO-FDA (888) 463-6332, or email the FDA at

Maker's Statement

Ortho Evra's maker, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, issued a news release about the label change.

The news release echoes many of the points covered by the FDA. It also notes that Ortho Evra has been used by more than 5 million women and "remains a safe and effective product, when used according to the product's label. However, hormonal contraception is not suitable for all women. It is important that women speak with their healthcare professionals about what option is right for them."

The company also states that "most side effects of the patch are not serious and those that are occur infrequently. Serious risks, which can be life threatening, include blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks, and are increased if you smoke cigarettes.

"Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially if you are over 35. Women who use the patch are strongly advised not to smoke," the news release states.

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