He didn't know of any except nausea. Now, Julia hopes he will warn women considering the Ortho Evra patch of the serious side effects, especially one that ruined her life - a stroke.
"When I first got the patch, I recall reading the side effects in the information packet but I just thought, how often do those things happen? And like many other people, I thought that nothing could happen to me," said Julia Wilson (not her real name pending a lawsuit).
"The main reason that I asked my doctor so many questions about the patch was because I have a family history of a syndrome whereby the blood clots too much. I didn't think it was that serious and I was more concerned about birth control. About a year after I had been taking Ortho Evra, I was tested for this syndrome and the results were positive - my doctor told me to immediately get off the patch. I ripped it off my skin so fast! A few months later I had a stroke, at the age of 29.
At first I didn't realize that I had a stroke. I was at work (I am an attorney) and attempted to answer some questions from my secretary and a few co-workers but my words were all garbled - this should have been my first clue! I also thought I had a fever and felt worse as the day progressed so I left work early and started walking across the parking lot to my car. But the closer I got to the car, the farther away it seemed. It was so strange. But I really got scared driving home. I was swerving on a major interstate highway and almost collided with a few trucks.
I made it home without mishap (amazingly!) and phoned my doctor - I thought I had the flu so he wrote a prescription. I started taking the meds on Thursday. From Friday to Sunday all I could do was lie on the couch with a major headache - it was like someone ringing a gigantic bell in my head every few minutes. When Monday rolled around I started getting dressed for work but just fixing my hair was a major task so I decided to stay home another day.
Next thing I knew, there was banging on my front door - it was my girlfriend and two police officers. Apparently people had been phoning me all weekend (I live by myself) but I had left the phone off the hook and cell phone off the charger. They took one look at me and my girlfriend drove me directly to the hospital.
I was rushed into emergency. At first the doctors thought I had a nervous breakdown so a social worker first asked a lot of questions about my job and my life. Then they thought there might be a physical reason for my condition and I had an MRI. That is all I remember until I woke up in ICU and they still hadn't determined what was wrong. They decided to send me to another hospital that was better equipped to diagnose me.
A few days later they told me that I had a stroke and I stayed at the second hospital for three weeks.
I thought that strokes were for older people so naturally I disagreed with their diagnosis! I don't smoke, I was going to the gym three days a week and I'm on the slim side. How could this happen to me?
I am not sure when I came to accept the fact - it seemed so farfetched... Afterward, coming to realize all the effects of a stroke - problems concentrating and memory loss - was even worse than actually having the stroke. Then the long process of rehab began.
I started seeing commercials on TV about the Ortho Evra patch causing strokes and heart attacks but I thought my case was different because I wasn't using the patch when I had the stroke. I didn't give it a second thought until I read an article on LawyersandSettlements.com: this woman had a pulmonary embolism with a similar story. And she had a genetic condition with blood clotting.
Ortho Evra has ruined my life - I lost my job and it is very difficult to find another one in the practice of law with the disabilities I now have. I currently have a law firm looking into my claim. I mainly want acknowledgement that my stroke was caused by Ortho Evra - I need to know why this has happened to me.