Risking Your Health With a Birth Control Patch

The most serious issue surrounding most drug-based forms of birth control: A woman's needless exposure to synthetic hormones her body isn't able to handle. Unfortunately, that's the gist of the warning issued yesterday by Johnson and Johnson subsidiary, Ortho McNeil, about its Ortho Evra patch.

The patch, according to Ortho McNeil, exposes women to some 60 percent more estrogen than patients using birth control pills. Why? Because the hormones in the patch get into a woman's bloodstream and are removed by the body differently than the way pills are. Conversely, pill users absorb the medication through their digestive tracts and lose about half of the estrogen along the way.

This news comes on the heels of a warning that women who use a birth control patch are three times more likely to suffer from blood clots or die than those who use a pill.

Remember, there are safer options at your disposal other than using hormonal contraceptives, such as barrier methods and natural family planning.

USA Today November 10, 2005

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