Mercola.com|October 5, 2006

The FDA has issued a warning regarding the elevated risk of blood clots in a woman's legs and lungs from the Ortho Evra birth control patch.

The FDA claims the warning was issued based on the results of a single study that found women using the patch doubled their risk of blood clots compared to those taking the pill.

However, earlier reports have put the risk of these potentially fatal clots as actually being as much as three times higher than the risk from taking the pill. In 2004 alone, a dozen deaths were linked to the patch and many more to strokes and clots.

Johnson & Johnson is facing 500 claimants in lawsuitsrelated to deaths and injuries caused by the patch. Legal analystsbelieve that these 500 claims are only the beginning, since thousandsof women may have suffered from blood clots, heart attacks and strokes,but could be as yet unaware of the cause.

Johnson & Johnson is attempting to settle asmany of the cases out of court as possible in an attempt to reducemedia coverage of the problem, which so far has not been widelyreported.

If the cases go to court, Johnson & Johnson is likely tolose many of them, as the victims are almost always young women with noprior history of heart trouble, so the birth control patch can beeasily pinpointed as the cause of the problem.

In 2005, there were more than 9.4 million prescriptions written for the Ortho Evra patch.

OpEdNews.com September 20, 2006

Yahoo News September 20, 2006

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

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About a month ago, I warned you about an avalanche of lawsuits filedin recent years against four drugs — one of them being Johnson &Johnson's birth control patch Ortho Evra.

Unlike Merck's legal strategy of fighting Vioxx publicly and one case at a time,however, Johnson & Johnson has already settled a dozen lawsuitsprivately and approached attorneys representing other plaintiffs.

Johnson & Johnson is an expert at damage control and the waythey handled cyanide-tampered Tylenol in the '80s is taught in a numberof business schools as a top example of how to address negative PR. Youshould also know that Johnson & Johnson owns McNeil Nutritionals,which manufactures Splenda.

They are applying similar skills in the way they are quietly doingdamage control to keep women in the dark about a product they shouldnever use, particularly when there are safer birth control alternatives available, including:

Male condoms:Condoms have a 98 percent effectiveness rate when used correctly. Awater-based lubricant will increase the effectiveness; do not use anoil-based lubricant, however, as they break the latex.

Female condoms:These thin, soft polyurethane pouches fitted inside the vagina beforesex are 95 percent effective. Female condoms are less likely to tearthan male condoms.

Diaphragm:Diaphragms, which must be fitted by a doctor, act as a barrier tosperm. When used correctly with spermicidal jellies, they are 92percent to 98 percent effective.

Cervical cap: Thisheavy rubber cap fits tightly against the cervix and can be left inplace for 48 hours. Like the diaphragm, a doctor must fit the cap.Proper fitting enhances the effectiveness above 91 percent.

Spermicides:Creams, jellies and suppositories contain chemicals that kill sperm.While they can increase the effectiveness of other forms ofcontraception listed here, I don't recommend using them alone.

Other natural methods to scientifically check your fertility also exist.

Additionally, any of the above methods can be combined withnatural family planning, in which the woman charts her cycle byregularly monitoring her first morning oral temperatures with anaccurate thermometer, and also checks her cervical mucous forappearance and "ferning" patterns.

If these two methods are combined, then their effectiveness approaches that of birth control pills.

Drugs are unnecessary for almost every illness, problem, orconcern for which they are prescribed. It's not hard to understand whythey still get prescribed anyway, however; the industries that make thedrugs and medical technologies wish to continue to sell them. There arecurrently no plans to pull the Ortho Evra patch off the shelves despitethe high risk.

If medicine instead focused on lifestyle changes like properdiet, regular exercise, and natural and barrier birth control, vastnumbers of Americans would no longer need or want to purchase the drugsthe pharmaceutical industry desperately wishes to continue to sell.

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