FDA Reveals 17 Deaths in 2 Years from "Contraceptive Sex Patch" (updated 11/04)

The “contraceptive sex patch” has been found responsible for 17 deaths in women age 17 to 30 since its release in 2002, according to a recent exposé by the New York Post. The Post used Freedom of Information laws to obtain records from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which also revealed 21 other “life-threatening” conditions such as blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.   The contraceptive, marketed by ads with super models and Olympic athletes, is touted as a sexy alternative to the Pill. The Ortho Evra patch’s manufacturer, Ortho-McNeil, claims the patch is easier to remember than the pill because it requires only a once-weekly replacement, rather than the Pill’s daily dose. Doctors who reviewed the report were staggered by the numbers. “This is a cause for concern,” NYU Medical Center gynecologist and professor Dr. John Quagliarello said. He said it was the first time he’d heard there was such a high death rate from the patch. The Ortho Evra patch delivers a dose of contraceptive hormones into a woman’s blood stream via the skin. These hormones can trigger fatal heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. Ortho-McNeil claims the death rate from its patch is “consistent with the health risks” of taking the Pill. According to them, the Pill kills 0.3 to 1.9 women of every 100,000 15 to 29 year old users. Smoking significantly increases the risk of death. A spokeswoman for the UK’s Family Planning Association told the BBC news that “Women shouldn’t suddenly stop using the patch as they could then be at risk of unplanned pregnancy.” [New York Post; 21Sept04, LifeSiteNews.com] Earlier and...