Hormone skin patches nay or yay?

In my earlier article about wild yam creams, I mentioned that I would rather seek alternative treatment than accept the synethetic estrogen or progestin prescribed by doctors under the HRT.  This is because there has been a lot of reports regarding serious side effects such as breast cancer, heart attack or stroke risk on women who have used such pills.  And most recently, this was confirmed by a French study.

In fact, according to the study, hormone skin patches and gels, already known to be effective for relieving the hot flashes and sleep-interrupting night sweats that plague many menopausal women, maybe safer for use. 

The French researchers compared 271 women ages 45 to 70 who suffered blood clots to 610 similar women without clots. Women taking various hormone pills were more than four times more likely to suffer clots than women not taking hormones or receiving them through patches, gels or creams.

Now, this means a better alternative for women like me who are fearful of taking such risky hormone pills.   But this is yet to be confirmed as the study is still underway.

Ironically, some hormone patches seem to carry greater risks of blood clots than pills when used for birth control. The FDA recently required new warnings on one such contraceptive patch — Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s Ortho Evra birth control patch which has been shown to cause up to 11 times the serious injuries as the pill.

The patch is linked to blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolism, death, and other serious injuries.  By November 2005, there were 23 deaths associated with Ortho Evra, of which 17 were directly related to blood clots.

In fact, various lawsuits have been filed alleging the manufacturer of Ortho Evra for knowingly concealed risks of serious injuries and death while aggressively marketing the patch to young women. 

The manufacturer apparently did not change the label on their package to reflect the danger of the higher potential risks associated with using the patch over oral contraceptives until a statement released by the FDA on 11 November, 2005.  However for many women, this was too little and too late.

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