Many women who have worn the Ortho Evra transdermal birth control patch have developed a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis, commonly called a blood clot. If left unchecked this dangerous medical complication can cause strokes and in some cases, lead to pulmonary embolisms (PE).
Angela (not her real name) also suffered multiple pulmonary emboli. "They found the emboli in my lungs after being on the Ortho Evra patch," says Angela. " While wearing the patch, I became pregnant and had a miscarriage on April 1st, 2005. I then started using the patch again for about 4 weeks and then found out that I was pregnant again! In June of 2005 I wound up in ER after having symptoms of chest pain, headaches, jaw pain, swelling in my legs, and tingling in arms and hands. I was hospitalized and was in ICU for 4-5 days after they found multiple pulmonary emboli in my lungs. I got to go home with a prescription for lovenox [an anticoagulant therapy indicated to help reduce the risk of developing DVT, or deep vein thrombosis], which I had to take for the rest of my pregnancy—taking any medication, even aspirin while pregnant was worrisome and risky but I had no choice."
In 2005, Paula developed "many little blood clots" in her lungs after being on the patch for about two months." I was hospitalized for a week and had to take blood thinning medication for 6 months after I came home," she said, "and to this day I still have to be checked every year to see if the clots will return."
" On June 23rd 2003, I suffered a pulmonary embolism as a result of using the Ortho Evra birth control patch," says Julia. "I passed out at work and was admitted to Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. I was admitted in the intensive care unit and was discharged a week later, one very scared woman."
When Alice was prescribed the patch in 2006, she experienced a mild stroke. It started out as a migraine; luckily she had the wherewithal to seek medical attention immediately. "By the time I got to ER I couldn't feel the left side of my body," she said. "I fainted at the hospital and woke up in a bed where I stayed for the next week." Alice's doctor had taken the patch off her arm and she was told never to take the patch or the birth control pill ever again because she could suffer another stroke.
Belinda (not her real name pending a lawsuit) thinks the patch was responsible for a brain aneurysm that "nearly killed me in January 2007," she said. "Since then I have high blood pressure, which I never had before this occurred. I was hospitalized for 4 months, and underwent physical therapy for another 3 months to regain mobility.
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Ortho Evra critics advise women with even the slightest side effect to seek medical help, no matter how insignificant you think it may be. What could start out as a respiratory issue or an ache in your leg could wind up as DVT or pulmonary emboli and that has the potential to kill you.