Birth Control Patch Can Cause Pulmonary Embolism

Even though the Ortho Evra Contraceptive Transdermal Patch is known to increase the risk of serious blood clots, it is still available on the market today. An epidemiology study found that patients who used the birth control patch were at a higher risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), which can lead to pulmonary embolism, than women who used birth control pills.

In response to the findings of the study, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved additional changes to the Ortho Evra label so that it included the study’s results. The study was conducted by the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program for Johnson and Johnson. Women aged 15 to 44 were studied and it was found that they were at higher risk of venous thromboembolism. These findings supported earlier studies that showed the same results.

The Ortho Evra patch releases ethinyl estradiol, which is an estrogen hormone, and norelgestromin, a progestin hormone, into the patient’s skin. The hormones then get absorbed into the bloodstream. When a woman uses the birth control patch, she is exposed to 60 percent more estrogen than typical birth control pills. As the body is exposed to higher levels of estrogen, there is the potential for side effects, including blood clots. Blood clots can be serious and even life threatening. Pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots in the lungs and is the leading cause of hospital deaths.

If you are using the Ortha Evra patch, you need to be aware of the symptoms of pulmonary embolism. According to, pulmonary embolism symptoms include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Bloody cough
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the leg
  • Bluish-colored skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weak pulse
  • Fever

Pulmonary embolism occurs when blood clots that form in the patient’s body dislodge and travel through the bloodstream to the right side of the heart. Once these clots enter the pulmonary arteries, they may cause a blockage. Lungs are vulnerable to blockages because of the amount of blood that passes through as it circulates through the body. Patients who use the Ortho Evra patch are susceptible to pulmonary embolism because of the increased risk of blood clots.

If you believe that you may be experiencing pulmonary embolism, you need to seek medical attention immediately. It is a potentially life threatening condition, but with the proper diagnosis and treatment, patients are able to recover without complications.

Contact the Florida mass tort attorneys at the Law Offices of Lilly, O’Toole & Brown, LLP at (863) 683-1111 if you have been injured by the Ortho Evra patch. We will help you receive compensation for your injuries.