Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women who were diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) after using hormonal contraceptives. IIH occurs when pressure inside the skull builds up, causing symptoms that are similar to a large brain tumor. Idiopathic intracranial hypertension has also been referred to in the medical literature as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) and benign intracranial hypertension (BIH).
What is Ortho Evra?
Ortho Evra is a birth control patch that contains both an estrogen and progestin component. The patch is applied once a week for three weeks; on the fourth week, the patch is taken off, which allows menstruation to occur. Ortho Evra prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into the bloodstream that block ovulation, which keeps the ovaries from releasing an egg. The patch is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and was approved by the FDA in 2005.
Hormone Birth Control & Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH)
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a disorder characterized by increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure in the brain. IIH is important to diagnose early because it can lead to progressive, potentially permanent vision loss over time. Most patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension are initially misdiagnosed as having a brain tumor.
Symptoms of IIH
- Changes in vision
- Vision loss
- Papilledema (swelling of the optic nerve)
- Feeling dizzy or nauseated
- Neck stiffness
- Difficulty walking
- Persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Ortho Evra Side Effects
Serious side effects associated with the Ortho Evra birth control patch may include:
- Heart attack
- Blood Clots
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE)