Knoxville (WVLT) - New warnings about one form of birth control, especially popular with young women.
Ortho Evra is a once-a-week birth control patch that's proven just as effective as the pill.
In fact, one clinical study finds women who use the patch are more likely to use it consistently and properly, than women who use birth control pills.
But there are serious risks, serious enough to compel one local ob-gyn group to stop prescribing it to patients.
Hundreds of local women are receiving letters, citing an American College of Gynecology study exposing the greater risk of deep vein thrombosis in women using the Ortho Evra birth control patch.
Parkwest Women's Specialists have decided to change their patients to another form of birth control.
OB/GYN Professionals of East Tennessee Dr. Rosalind Cadigan says the increased risk is due to the fact that women using the patch are exposed to 60 percent more estrogen than women taking a typical birth control pill. "It seems to be that estrogen is the hormone that causes that the most. So, with the Ortho Evra patch, at the end of the month, you end up getting more estrogen in your body than a pack of birth control pills."
Doctor Cadigan will prescribe the Ortho Evra patch to her patients, with informed consent, but she does recommend other options, due to the risks. "FDA has not taken the Ortho Evra patch off the market, but several people, several clinicians have been worried about the possibility."
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs. They're dangerous because the clots can break loose and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
"The bottom line is that pregnancy is going to be a higher risk situation than the Ortho Evra patch. So, your risk of having a blood clot in your leg or a pulmonary embolism due to pregnancy is higher than the risk of having that with an Ortho Evra patch,” Dr. Cadigan says.
Cigarette smoking increases the risk, especially in women older than 35. Women who use the patch are strongly urged not to smoke.
There are some women who should not use the patch, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant.