Posted on Apr 27, 2006
The Food & Drug Administration announced last month that it will launch a "exhaustive review" regarding the safety of medical patches, including the Orthro-Evra birth control patch and a Fentanyl pain patch, both of which are manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Drug companies of late have been producing more and more medical patches and researchers are concerned that medical patches may become unstable and unsafe when exposed to heat from exercise, hot tubs or fever and that this could lead to serious medical complications. Evidence of the proliferation of medical patches is seen in the fact that the FDA just recently approved the first anti-depressant patch. According to Michael Cohen, Director of the Institute for Safe Medical Practices, "most people don't realize that heat is going to increase absorption rates, even to toxic levels...it's something patients should be warned about." Since its approval in 2001, there has been concern over serious side effects associated with the Ortho-Evra birth control patch which was prescribed for over 2 million women in 2004. The most serious side effects which have raised concern in the medical community is news that the patch increases a woman's risk of developing a blood clot. Recent reports indicate that the birth control patch has been blamed for the deaths of 23 women including 17 women who died from complications from blood clots. Many of these alleged victims were reportedly young and healthy with no history of blood clots or other cardiovascular conditions.