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FDA Warns Against Birth-Control Patch

e highest one or two hours after taking it. Twelve hours later, estrogen levels are quite low, meaning the body is not exposed to high levels of estrogen 24 hours a day, said Dr. Leslie Miller, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington.

But the patch causes higher estrogen levels since delivery of medication continues all day. Those elevated levels may be high enough to increase some women's risk of blood clots, Miller said. "If the patch is delivering too much estrogen, then it may need to be redesigned," Miller said.

Even before the warning, some advocacy groups and medical providers were raising questions about the patch.

In September, Public Citizen's Health Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization, added Ortho Evra to its ongoing list of dangerous medicines, warning that there is "no medical reason for women to use the more dangerous Ortho Evra rather than one of the older, better understood, and equally effective oral contraceptives."

And last month, Dr. Miguel Cano, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Reedley, Calif., sent a note to several thousand women patients recommending that they stop using the patch and that they come in for appointments to get a new form of birth control.
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