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FDA panel backs benefit of birth control patch
FDA panel says J&J birth control patch offers benefit for women, despite blood clot risk
By The Associated Press

ADELPHI, Md. (AP) ' A panel of federal health advisers says Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Evra birth control patch remains a beneficial option for women seeking birth control, despite increasingly strong evidence that the drug carries a slightly higher risk of dangerous blood clots than older birth control pills.

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of reproductive health experts voted 19-5 that the benefits of the weekly Ortho Evra patch outweigh its risks, including a potentially higher risk of dangerous blood clots that can cause heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening problems.

Panelists said it was important to keep the drug available for women who have difficulty taking a daily pill.

Prescriptions for Ortho Evra have declined steadily over the last five years, from 5 million in 2006 to about 1.3 million last year.

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