The Patch

Brand Name

Ortho Evra

Recent News Regarding Ortho Evra

How it Works

Ortho Evra (ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin transdermal) is a patch placed on the body that delivers continuous levels of hormones. The Patch contains a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progestin, which work to prevent pregnancy in three ways. First, the hormones prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from one of the ovaries). Ortho Evra also causes the cervical mucus to thicken, blocking sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. Lastly, the hormones prevent the uterine lining from thickening, making it less hospitable to implantation.

Ortho Evra is only to be utilized as a form of birth control and does not protect against the transmission of HIV (AIDS) or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How to Use

You may begin using Ortho Evra the first day of your period or the first Sunday after your period begins. The Patch should be placed on one of four designated areas on your body: buttock, upper torso (excluding breasts), abdomen or upper outer arm. Do not place the patch where you have recently applied or will apply lotions, makeup, powders, creams or other products. Remove the backing from the Patch and stick the Patch onto the body. After one week, remove the used patch and place the next one in a different place on your body. At the end of three consecutive weeks, remove the third patch and do not apply a new one for seven days. Your period should start during this time. Put on another patch no more than seven days later. Use Ortho Evra only as your healthcare provider has instructed.

If you forget to take off or replace your Ortha Evra patch, your risk of pregnancy will be increased. There are ways to make up for missing the change day that will maintain the effectiveness of the birth control. For further instruction, contact with your healthcare provider immediately upon realizing you’ve missed your change day.

Effectiveness

Ortho Evra has been shown to prevent pregnancy in over 99% of situations when it is the only birth control method utilized and when Ortho Evra is used exactly as directed. The Patch may be less effective for women who weigh more than 198 pounds. If this is a concern for you, speak with your healthcare provider before taking Ortho Evra.

Cost

Ortho Evra costs $15-50 per month.

Benefits

Ortho Evra is convenient and easy to use. Instead of having to take birth control every day, women only have to change the patch once a week.

The hormones in Ortho Evra are the same as those in birth control pills and are shown to have the following possible benefits:

  • Menstrual cycle may become more regular, and blood flow may become lighter (reducing the chances of anemia).
  • Cramps or other pain during menstruation may become less intense and/or frequent.
  • Noncancerous cysts or lumps in the breast may occur less frequently.
  • Ectopic pregnancies may occur with less frequency.
  • Acute pelvic inflammatory disease may occur less frequently.

Risks

Norelgestromin is the active breakdown product, or metabolite, of norgestimate. Norgestimate is a third-generation progestin, which some studies have shown to increase the risk of venous thromboembolic events (blood clots in the legs and/or the lungs).

Ortho Evra has 60% more estrogen than regular birth control pills. Increased estrogen may increase the risk of side effects compared to the Pill. Ortho Evra can also increase your risk of stroke and heart attack, especially for women who smoke and/or are older than 35. Women who are taking oral contraceptives should not smoke.

Blood Clot Update: Ortho Evra Patch Increases Risk of Venous Thrombosis & Related Health Issues

A May 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that women who use Ortho Evra face a 8x increased risk of developing life-treatening blood clots known as venous thromboembolisms (VTE). Even in otherwise healthy, young women, VTEs can lead to other health issues, including:

  • Pulmonary Embolism – blood clot in the lungs
  • Stroke – blood clot in the brain
  • Heart Attack – blood clot in the heart
  • Death – any one of the above risks may prove fatal

Possible side effects include

  • Mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Headache, nervousness, dizziness or tired feeling
  • Changes in menstrual period, decreased sex drive.
  • Breast pain, swelling or tenderness
  • Increased hair growth or loss of scalp hair
  • Freckles or darkening of facial skin
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Problems with contact lenses

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Birth Control News

How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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