The FDA has issued a warning on the Ortho Evra birth control patch. It turns out total estrogen levels are higher among patch users than among those taking oral contraceptive pills (though the peak EE level is not as high):
The addition of this new warning is a result of FDA’s and the manufacturer’s analysis directly comparing the levels for estrogen and progestin hormones in users of Ortho Evra with those in a typical birth control pill. In general, increased estrogen exposure may increase the risk of blood clots. However, it is not known whether women using Ortho Evra are at a greater risk of experiencing these serious adverse events.
That’s worth repeating, because some sloppy reporting has muddled the issue: It’s not yet clear whether the patch’s higher basal estrogen levels causes more adverse effects for women.
Rest assured, the matter is being examined by many clinicians and trial lawyers. Until then, the Well-Timed Period is providing some of the best writing on the issue.
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