From November 28th, 2005 to December 30th, 2006 Bridges was on the Ortho Evra patch. On Christmas Day of 2006 she had a nasty bout of cellulitis (Bridges has been a nurse for many years and knew exactly what she had) and wound up in the hospital on IV antibiotics. She was sent home that night but the next day her condition hadn't improved and her doctor sent her to another hospital to have a PICC line placement and another antibiotic.
The cellulitis was in her left forearm and the PICC was placed in her upper right arm. "A few days later a nurse came over to draw blood and she noticed a thrombos [blood clot] at the PICC line site and said my arm was infected," said Bridges. "It was bright red and spreading and the nurse recommended that I go back to the hospital if it got worse."
"I went back to the hospital that afternoon and they confirmed that indeed, my arm was infected. Fortunately, they did an ultrasound of left forearm and found a blood clot. The hematologist asked me if I was taking any birth control. I told him that I was wearing the Ortho Evra Patch and he said, 'Take it off right now and don't ever put it on again.' He also told me that I could never take the birth control pill. 'Use prophylactics or your husband should consider a vasectomy,' he suggested. Of course neither of us was pleased with this news.
I had the PICC line taken out that night and the next day another ultrasound found another clot -- I had one in each arm. Now I had to get my blood pressure measured from my leg and they started me on coumadin, a blood thinner that I will probably have to take for the rest of my life. I wasn't too thrilled with this news either.
I did some research on the Ortho Evra patch and found out that the drug makers altered some information they gave to the FDA - It is unfathomable that the public wasn't made more aware that the drug company altered its findings. I was astounded that I found this information. It really rubs me the wrong way, especially being a nurse. I am angry; I feel that I was duped. I currently see a nurse practitioner at my doctor's office and she said that they stopped prescribing it.
This is what I want to see happen: the Ortho Evra patch is taken off the market and the drug maker, SmithGlaxoKline, makes a public announcement stating they will make retribution to everyone who has suffered.
My whole life, and my family's, has changed because of this. Even my 10 year old is affected - I have to take coumadin at 5pm every day and he lets me know. This week I went in for my blood work and it was high, which means too thin. So now I have to stay off aspirin and coumadin for the next three days and go back for more testing. Since this has started, I have been tested at least once a week.
As you can imagine, all this running around takes a lot of time and energy. And gas. What a headache. Then I have to adjust my dose at the pharmacy, which means more time and energy. Ortho Evra is a life-altering drug."
Fact: women who use the patch are more than three time as likely as those using the birth control pill to suffer strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, blood clots and even death.
Incredibly, the Ortho Evra birth control patch has yet to be recalled. Since it went on the market in 2002, more than 4 million women were prescribed the patch. Many women have suffered serious side effects due the patch and some women have lost their lives.