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The Birth Control Patch and Strokes

July 17, 2005 - 0 Comments
On July 17, 2005, the Associated Press (AP) published an article on deaths and serious health risks of strokes that may be related to the birth control patch. The birth control patch is a square patch that is placed on the skin. It contains hormone-like drugs, similar to those found in the birth control pill, which prevent ovulation.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA), when it approved the birth control patch, did not require that reports of deaths or serious health problems be sent to the FDA. This reporting procedure is voluntary.

The AP article stated that about one dozen women, mostly in their late teens and early twenties, had died from blood clots while using the patch. In addition, dozens more survived strokes and other clot-related problems. The AP article stated that 800,000 women in 2004 were using the birth control patch. During this time, women on the patch were three times more likely to die or survive a blood clot or related problem, compared to women taking the pill.

According to the AP article, in the studies conducted prior to FDA approval, the rate of non-fatal blood clots was 12 out of 10,000 patch users. The rate of death was 3 out of 200,000.

If you are using the birth control patch, discontinue its use, and contact your health provider if you experience the following:

  • Severe leg cramps/pain
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Blurred vision
July 25, 2005: CNN reports that 10 women who suffered blood clots have sued the makers of the birth control patch.


On November 10, 2005, The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) made public information showing that the patch does expose women to higher doses of estrogen than low-dose birth control pills.






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