The Clark Firm, LLP is evaluating cases of Benign Intracranial Hypertension (BIH) associated with Ortho Evra. Unfortunately, women who are diagnosed with this disease may need surgery to treat migraine headaches and prevent blindness.
What is Ortho Evra?
Ortho Evra is a once-weekly birth control patch that contains two hormones, progestin (norelgestromin) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol). These hormones pass through the skin and into the bloodstream. Ortho Evra is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
What is the problem?
The National Institute of Health (NIH) warns that certain medications, including birth control, are possibly associated with a rare neurological syndrome known as Benign Intracranial Hypertension (BIH).
Unlike the name suggests, BIH is not “benign.” Over 90% of people suffer from headaches, including migraines, which can become progressively more serious. Most people with BIH also suffer from vision problems (double-vision, loss of peripheral vision, blurry vision, etc.). The condition causes high pressure inside the skull, which can also damage the optic nerve. Without treatment, this may result in blindness.
Birth Control and BIH
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 1995 linking the use of Norplanon, a birth control implant containing levonorgestrel, with 56 cases of BIH. More recently, a number of lawsuits have been filed by women who used Mirena and were diagnosed with BIH. These lawsuits accuse Bayer of failing to warn about the side effect.
Ortho Evra Headaches
According to the Prescribing Information for Ortho Evra, headaches were reported in 21% of women, and migraines were reported in 2.7%. Women with persistent, severe headaches need to be evaluated by a doctor. Over 90% of people with BIH suffer from headaches.
Blood Clots and Secondary Intracranial Hypertension
Blood clots are 8-times more likely to occur in women on the contraceptive patch, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2012. If a blood clot travels to the brain and interferes with the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, it could potentially cause secondary intracranial hypertension.