Study Confirms Blood Clot Risk with NuvaRing, Ortho Evra Birth Control

The NuvaRing birth control ring and Ortho Evra birth control patch may substantially increase the risk of blood clots when compared with some older oral birth control pills, according to new research. 

In a study released late last week by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Danish researchers examined the blood clot risk associated with newer alternatives to combined hormonal birth control pills.

After examining data on more than 1.6 million Danish women, the study found that when compared to use of levonorgestrel-based oral contraceptives NuvaRing and Ortho Evra may double the risk of venous thrombosis, which involves blood clots that cause a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism.

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Side effects of NuvaRing may increase risk of blood clots, pumonary embolism, DVT, death. Lawsuits pending.


Researchers looked at information from Danish databases and registries on types of contraceptives used by women between 15 and 49 years of age, who had no prior history of thombotic disease or cancer. Compared to the use of no hormonal contraceptives, the study indicates that side effects of NuvaRing may increase the risk venous thrombosis 6.5 times and side effects of Ortho Evra increased the risk almost 8 times.

NuvaRing is a form of birth control that releases a combination of etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol through a small plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month.

Ortho Evra is a form of birth control that is delivered through a patch placed on the shoulder, arm, abdomen or on the back near the buttock. 

Both products have been heavily promoted in recent years as an alternative to taking a daily birth control pill, particularly targeting young women. While several studies have assessed the risk of venous thrombosis from birth control pills, this is the first study of it’s size to examine the blood clot risk with NuvaRing or Ortho Evra.

In October 2011, the FDA released a study on the blood clot risk associated several newer forms of birth control, including both NuvaRing and Ortho Evra, as well as Yaz, Yasmin and other drospirenone-based birth control pills. The report found that use of NuvaRing and Ortho Evra both appeared to raise the risk of venous thombosis about 55% over levonorgestrel.

In recent years, the manufacturers of both Ortho Evra and NuvaRing have faced product liability lawsuits brought by women throughout the United States, alleging that the manufacturers failed to adequately research the side effects of their products or warn about the increased risk of blood clots. A number of Ortho Evra lawsuit settlements were reached several years ago, and hundreds of NuvaRing lawsuits are still pending.


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