By John Connolly

TORONTO, January 11, 2007 ( – Two Canadian women have died and sixteen more have reported serious blood clotting in connection with the use of Evra, a hormonal contraceptive patch that releases estrogen directly into the bloodstream through the skin.

Health Canada released safety information for the drug in late 2006, but the warnings about increased possibility of blood clots in the legs and lungs have not been enough to prevent women from using the patch.

Two Canadian women who used the drug died from complications induced by the patch in 2006. One of the deaths was caused by a heart attack, which the manufacturers blamed the woman’s smoking habit for. Multiple other women, however, have complained of dangerous blood clotting caused by the patch, conditions that may lead to a stroke or even death.

Siskinds, an Ontario-based law firm specializing in business law and class actions, has filed a class suit against Janssen-Ortho Inc., the manufacturers of the patch. A hearing has been scheduled in Toronto to determine whether the case can continue through the court system as a class action suit.

The patch, controversial since its release to the market, has faced class action in the United States, where women suffered from blood clotting in their lungs after using the patch. While some of those women have asserted that the drug is not worth the risk, advocates of the patch claim that there is no problem, since women are warned of possible blood clotting on the patch’s label.

“Everybody who you start on this product – whether it’s a pill or a patch or a ring – gets the same warning,” said Dr. Melissa Mirosh, former fellow of the contraception research fellowship program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “What I tell people is that any estrogen-containing birth control product will slightly raise your risk of having a blood clot in your leg or in your lung. But it does not raise it nearly as much as being pregnant or having a baby. And that risk is a very small increase.”

Some doctors refused to prescribe the patch after its bad publicity, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Janssen-Ortho to include the warnings about blood clots and possible stroke on the product’s label.

See previous coverage:

43 More Women Sue over Birth Control Patch Dangers

Doctors Refusing to Prescribe Ortho Evra Patch

Woman Sues “Birth Control” Patch Manufacturer for Pulmonary Embolism

Abortion-Causing Birth Control Patch Manufacturer Faces Class-Action Lawsuit

FDA Reveals 17 Fatalities in Two Years from Contraceptive “Sex Patch”